Home http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3754/all en-US Best Money Tips: Make Your House Look Awesome for $50 or Less http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-make-your-house-look-awesome-for-50-or-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-make-your-house-look-awesome-for-50-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-painting-home-484031105-small.jpg" alt="couple painting home" title="couple painting home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on making your house look awesome for $50 or less, ways to save $1,000 for holiday shopping, and cash-back websites for online shoppers.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2014/09/04/23-ways-to-make-your-house-look-awesome-for-50-or-less/">23 Ways to Make Your House Look Awesome for $50 or Less</a> &mdash; Decluttering and tackling your carpet stains can make your house look awesome without breaking the bank. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/ways-to-save-1000-before-christmas/">12 Ways to Save $1,000 for Holiday Shopping in the 12 Weeks Before Christmas</a> &mdash; Being smart with your utilities and doing a financial fast may help you save $1,000 before the holidays. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T050-C011-S001-5-cash-back-web-sites-for-online-shoppers.html?si=1">5 Cash-Back Websites for Online Shoppers</a> &mdash; Online shoppers should check out Ebates and FatWallet. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Things-Look-Forward-Your-30s-35196883">18 Reasons Why You Should Look Forward to Turning 30</a> &mdash; When you turn 30, you will get to reap the benefits of the bad experiences you had in your 20s. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/dealing-with-day-job-and-side-business/">How to Hold Down a Day Job While Nurturing Your Business on the Side</a> &mdash; When juggling a full time job and a side business, get organized and don't be afraid to ask for help. [Careful Cents]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2014/09/04/voluntarily-slashed-salary/">Why I Voluntarily Slashed My Salary</a> &mdash; Being underemployed may not be for everyone, but if your definition of a rich life doesn't include money, slashing your salary may be a good optoin for you. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneycrashers.com/tips-stop-being-ashamed-debt/">6 Tips to Stop Being Ashamed of Your Debt and Take Control</a> &mdash; To take control of your debt, educate yourself and stop spending. [Money Crashers]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/7-ways-to-teach-our-sons-to-respect-women">7 Ways to Teach Our Sons to Respect Women</a> &mdash; If you want your son to respect women, teach him to speak kindly and to be chivalrous. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://the-military-guide.com/">Eight Reasons Not to Worry About Military Retirement</a> &mdash; Members of the military returning from duty shouldn't worry about retirement if they haven't been offered a job yet. Once they ramp up their job search, they should have more success and be able to save for retirement. [The Military Guide]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/talk-sense-freespending-teenaged.html">Oh, How I Wish I Could Go Back and Talk Some Sense into My Free-Spending Teenaged Self</a> &mdash; Do you wish you had started saving at a younger age? What is the best advice you'd give your younger self? [Bargaineering]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-make-your-house-look-awesome-for-50-or-less" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Make Your House Look Awesome for $50 or Less" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home awesome best money tips cheap decorate house Mon, 08 Sep 2014 19:00:05 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1204544 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Cheap Ways to Make Your Apartment Awesome (Without Losing Your Deposit) http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-ways-to-make-your-apartment-awesome-without-losing-your-deposit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-cheap-ways-to-make-your-apartment-awesome-without-losing-your-deposit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/apartment-decoration-planning-180204421-small.jpg" alt="apartment decoration" title="apartment decoration" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The white walls and boring fixtures of apartments are a thing of the past. You don't need to own your abode to make it totally your own. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-make-a-tiny-apartment-awesome?ref=seealso">12 Ways to Make a Tiny Apartment Awesome</a>)</p> <p>Check out these thrifty &mdash; but impactful &mdash; DIY ideas that will transform your space to home, all while ensuring you'll get that security deposit back.</p> <h2>1. Wow! Wallpaper</h2> <p>You can find temporary wallpaper rolls in a variety of <a href="https://www.etsy.com/shop/Betapet?ref=l2-shopheader-name">shades and prints</a> these days. Most brands are self adhesive for easy installation. To keep the cost low, consider papering a single accent wall versus an entire room. Think focal point by choosing the wall at the head of your bed, for example. A little will go a long way.</p> <h2>2. Brazen Backsplash</h2> <p>You can also use temporary wallpaper as a backsplash in your apartment's kitchen, but there's an even cheaper way to get a faux-tile look. Use contact paper! This <a href="http://bee-arthur.tumblr.com/post/8883206325">frugal project</a> cost only $13 and resulted in a stainless steel look that really brightened up the space. Simply cut contact paper into &quot;tiles&quot; and arrange in a pattern above your countertop. When it's time to move, just gently peel away from the wall.</p> <h2>3. Curtain Call</h2> <p>If you'd rather not stick something to the wall, consider adding some pizzaz with curtains on a tension rod. I used this technique in my <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2010/01/never-homemaker-kitchen-tour.html">first home's kitchen</a> to hide an otherwise ugly closet door; you could use it wherever you want a little color or flair. Tension rods of all sizes cost under $10. If you don't have curtains, follow this <a href="http://www.writingchapterthree.com/2012/03/nursery-curtains-tutorial.html">no-sew tutorial</a> to create some from fabric using hemming tape and an iron. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-unexpected-uses-for-tension-rods?ref=seealso">20 Unexpected Uses for Tension Rods</a>)</p> <h2>4. Bookworm Bounty</h2> <p>I recently browsed my decor inspiration board on Pinterest and discovered that many of my living room ideas incorporated the same element &mdash; bookshelves! You don't need built-ins to get this studious look, plus it's functional and perfect if you love reading. I love the idea of scouting out tall, <a href="http://weheartit.com/entry/4556733">mismatched shelves</a> at thrift stores for a unique look.</p> <h2>5. Beautiful Boxes</h2> <p>You can also use boxy fruit crates to create custom <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-make-shelves-out-of-fru-56604">temporary shelving</a>! I envision countless possibilities for this easy DIY project. My favorite of the bunch is a makeshift entry area with a couple hooks and fruit crates to <a href="http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/bb/8f/61/bb8f61ca91d65bcf81c1853b6ff83995.jpg">wrangle shoes, boots</a>, and anything else you have around. And since they're not bolted down, you can change your configuration as often as you change your mind.</p> <h2>6. Great Divide</h2> <p>If you live in a free-form space, you might want to create some separation using room dividers that simulate walls. This basement redo utilizes an <a href="http://www.younghouselove.com/2009/12/tackling-the-basement-done/">old pair of shutters</a> painted in glossy green to create space. You can also use a pair of curtains to do the same trick by <a href="http://www.pbteen.com/stylehouse/tips-tricks/break-it-up.html">hanging them</a> on steel wire cables in the area you want to section off. This trick is great for studio apartments, creating the illusion of a 1-bedroom at a fraction of the price it costs to rent one.</p> <h2>7. Big Impact</h2> <p>If you'd rather hang some artwork, check out engineer prints for black and white poster-sized art on the cheap. This <a href="http://www.writingchapterthree.com/2014/08/5-personalized-poster-sized-art.html">step-by-step tutorial</a> shows you how to take one of your own photos, add text, and get it printed for under $5. From there, you can purchase poster frames for $10 or less at stores like WalMart and Target. Consider grouping several large prints for bigger impact or browsing online for <a href="http://caravanshoppe.com/2013/04/17/braver-stronger-smarter/">free designs</a> to print.</p> <h2>8. Warm and Cozy</h2> <p>My favorite apartment trick for an instant homey feeling? A <a href="http://www.oneplusonedesign.ca/soapbox/featured-on-designsponge/">faux fireplace</a>. I found one on Craigslist way back when, and it moved with me to five different apartments! A fake fireplace adds an amazing architectural focal point to your room, as well as a great place to focus your decorating efforts &mdash; especially for the holidays. And it's like any other piece of furniture that can be easily picked up and moved.</p> <h2>9. Clever Lights</h2> <p>Purchase a light kit from your home improvement store and a drum shade for a simple, DIY hanging light fixture. It requires very little installation and can be removed in a flash. You can get quite creative with the basic idea. For example, this blogger used a <a href="http://www.domestically-speaking.com/2012/04/trash-can-pendant-light.html">wicker trash can</a> as a basic, ingenious pendant. This trick is particularly great if you need light over, say, your dining room table and don't want to go with more floor lamps.</p> <h2>10. Green Thumb</h2> <p>Plants can totally transform the feel of a space and even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality">improve air quality</a>. My mother-in-law has a beautiful collection of plants in her dining room, including a Rubber Tree, Jade plant, and some assorted ferns. Head to your local garden center and consult with the folks there to find a few plants that will bring the outdoors in and cozy up your apartment fast. Plus, many house plants can live for years and years with proper care.</p> <p><em>How do you dress up a drab apartment? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-ways-to-make-your-apartment-awesome-without-losing-your-deposit" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Cheap Ways to Make Your Apartment Awesome (Without Losing Your Deposit)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Home apartment cheap decor decorating Tue, 02 Sep 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1199024 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Ways to Make Your Home Look Amazing for Under $100 http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-for-under-100 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-ways-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-for-under-100" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/painting-home-187648776-small.jpg" alt="painting home" title="painting home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Beautifying your home doesn't have to mean building a new wing or digging out for an infinity pool (and paying infinity dollars for it!). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing?ref=seealso">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Great</a>)</p> <p>In fact, here are 15 ways you can majorly upgrade your home for under $100.</p> <h2>1. Paint</h2> <p>A few gallons of paint will set you back far less than $100 and can make a huge impact, as long as you're willing to do the labor yourself. Sometimes a fresh color is all it takes to inspire you to rearrange furniture, hang some art, and in general change things around. Stripes or an ombre color scheme can perk up a boring room or revitalize a tired piece of furniture. For instant curb appeal outside, paint your front door or refresh your exterior trim.</p> <h2>2. Organize</h2> <p>Set yourself a budget of $100 and head for the Container Store or a home goods store and load up with baskets, shoe racks, desk organizers, or an inexpensive closet system. Getting all that clutter off the surfaces of your home and into dedicated organizational spaces can make your home look ten times bigger. And better.</p> <h2>3. Use Subway Tile</h2> <p>Tile has a reputation for being expensive, but the most trendy tile of this decade &mdash; basic white subway tile &mdash; is usually extremely affordable and can run for as little as $1-$2 a square foot. For $100, you can get enough subway tile to redo your kitchen or bathroom backsplash, or even to re-tile your shower surround if it's starting to look dated. Of course, you'll have to be willing to put in some sweat equity of your own (stripping off old tile and laying the new), but the results will be fresh, new, and clean.</p> <h2>4. Buy Plants</h2> <p>A large plant or tree in the ground, or in a planter box in front of your home can instantly upgrade the appeal of your house. Whatever climate zone you live in, you can find an attractive plant for about $100 &mdash; be it simple rosemary, succulents, an evergreen, or a Japanese maple tree. Or plant $100 worth of flowers, either in the ground or in planters, and your home will look instantly landscaped and beautiful.</p> <p>You can also bring the outside indoors by bringing in a striking indoor plant such as a trendy fiddle leaf fig tree (or for the less experienced gardener, a potted palm or money tree). Place a large green plant in the corner of the room to draw the eye and make the room appear larger.</p> <h2>5. Add Patterned Textiles</h2> <p>I'm kind of a fabric junkie, and I'm always picking up gorgeous patterned fabric at discount fabric outlets such as <a href="http://homefabricsonline.com/">Home Fabrics</a>. If you don't have a fabric store near you, you can often get great deals on fabric online on sites such as <a href="https://www.fabric.com/">Fabric.com</a>. I like the line of <a href="https://www.fabric.com/SearchResults2.aspx?SearchText=premier+prints&amp;CategoryID=1d5f47dc-9991-4088-93f3-26a376046a5e">Premier Prints</a> home decor fabrics that run for about $10 a yard or less. For that price, you can make a set of curtain panels, recover a bench or set of dining chair cushions, upholster a headboard, and in general use the pattern to bring extra oomph to your space (tutorials about such easy DIY projects abound on the Internet). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains?ref=seealso">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a>)</p> <h2>6. Install a Statement Light Fixture</h2> <p>While I love the budget-friendly line of <a href="http://www.shadesoflight.com/lighting/young-house-love-collection/">lighting by Young House Love</a> (all fixtures are under $100), in general a statement light fixture is going to run you far more than your $100 budget. But one great, creative solution is using <em>exterior</em> lighting, such as rustic metal lanterns, indoors. There is no danger in using an exterior light fixture indoors, and many of these rugged fixtures are very affordable. Hang a couple lanterns over an island or dining table, for example.</p> <h2>7. Plank a Wall</h2> <p>A really popular look these days is to cover an accent wall with reclaimed wood planks (check your local Craigslist for reclaimed lumber sources). Old wood can range in price, but for $100 you should be able to cover an alcove in old barn siding or plank the nook above your fireplace. With easy, straight cuts, this is a project suitable for even those new to DIY. Can't afford enough reclaimed lumber but want a wood-planked look? Try using laminate flooring right on your walls!</p> <h2>8. Upgrade Front Door Hardware</h2> <p>If your front door is still sporting early 90's brass hardware, consider updating it with a new hardware kit. While these kits, which include locks, knobs, and handles, range in price, you should be able to find something nice at the local hardware store for under $100. Your front door makes a big impression on visitors, so this is a sound investment.</p> <h2>9. Hang a Mirror</h2> <p>You can get large-scale mirrors for great prices at consignment stores, discount stores like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-stuff-at-homegoods">HomeGoods</a>, or IKEA. Hanging a mirror over a buffet, dresser, or console table is a great way to bring more light into a room and make it seem more spacious.</p> <h2>10. Stencil Something</h2> <p>Modern stencils are chic and fresh (say goodbye to the grapevine stencils of the 90's) and can be bought for well under $100. Check out the gorgeous designs by <a href="http://www.royaldesignstudio.com/collections/new-stencil-designs">Royal Design Studio</a>. Try stenciling a wall in a geometric or Moroccan trellis pattern (a bathroom wall is a great place to go bold). If a wall is too ambitious for you, even stenciling an accent piece such as a thrift store tray, box, or chair can add a bespoke flair to your home.</p> <h2>11. Frame Your Photos</h2> <p>Stop putting off printing all your digital pictures! For $100 you can easily get some large-scale photos printed at Costco and pick up a few IKEA frames. Hang pictures in a grouping for bigger impact (especially if you can't afford a huge frame or picture). Hanging photos makes your house seem homier, cozier, and more personal. Just be sure not to go to the opposite extreme of cluttering up every side table and shelf with mismatched frames.</p> <h2>12. Upgrade Lighting</h2> <p>Bad lighting can not only put you in a bad mood, but also make your home look dated and ugly. Invest in a couple of sculptural lamps and quality light bulbs that will cast a warm glow on your space, putting you in a happier state of mind and making everything in your home look better. Another great place to add lighting is under cabinets &mdash; just buy some stick-on LED lights and you'll have the look of expensive under-cabinet lighting for far less. It's all about the details, folks!</p> <h2>13. Coordinate Colors and Patterns</h2> <p>Matching sets make your home look more pulled together, whether it be matching towels in the guest bath, coordinating bedding in the bedroom, or coordinating (though not necessarily matching) accent pillows. Make a few things match for under $100, and you'll find your home looks less visually cluttered and more intentional.</p> <h2>14. Let the Light In</h2> <p>This is a tip home stagers use often &mdash; roll up the blinds, throw open the curtains, and let the sunshine illuminate your home. You can take it a little further by getting rid of dark drapes (perhaps replacing them with inexpensive light-colored ones), painting your walls a light color, and/or painting dark furniture white. A tip for curtains &mdash; hang rods high and wide above and to the sides of your windows. This will make your windows look taller and wider, and will prevent the curtains from blocking any light when pushed to the side.</p> <h2>15. Clean and Declutter</h2> <p>A clean and neat home looks more upscale and stylish than a cluttered and dingy home. So get yourself some good cleaning products and get to work! While you're at it, get rid of old knick-knacks, magazines, and other things that you don't need or use anymore. Edit your belongings &mdash; display only the best.</p> <p>Hiring someone to clean your house might seem like a luxury, but often a professional eye will catch dirt and dinginess that you've simply gotten used to. There are often deals on Groupon or LivingSocial for discounted cleaning services. Consider having someone come and make your home spic-and-span for around $100.</p> <p><em>Do you have any tips on making your home look great on a budget? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-for-under-100" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Ways to Make Your Home Look Amazing for Under $100" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home declutter home decor home maintenance Mon, 11 Aug 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1179250 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Worst Things to Grow in Your Garden http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-worst-things-to-grow-in-your-garden <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-worst-things-to-grow-in-your-garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garderner-carrots-450799137-small.jpg" alt="gardener carrots" title="gardener carrots" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A garden can be an amazing investment for the home cook, foodie, or family provider. Most plants can be grown and harvested for a small fraction of what it would cost to buy even a couple meals' worth of produce in the store. (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself?ref=seealso">The Only Fruits and Vegetables Worth Growing Yourself</a>)</p> <p>There are other types of plants, however, that offer a weak return on your investment. Here are the vegetables I tend to shy away from, and why you may not want them occupying your precious garden space, either.</p> <h2>Cauliflower</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/cauliflower.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Cauliflower is a fickle plant in that it has a long growing season before it matures, but also likes it cool. If your part of the country gets hot early, this vegetable may have a hard time. In addition, it needs a little &quot;pampering&quot; to do well. The outer leaves must be grown so that they can be brought up over the head of the cauliflower and tied into place. Assuming you do everything right, they are still prone to beetles and insect damage, which can be hard to deal with in a veggie that is literally hiding away until it is ready. And when you're done with the process, you usually have just the one head to show for all your work anyway.</p> <h2>Carrots</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/carrot%20plant_0.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I have had luck with growing these beauties at least once in my long gardening life, but it required a ton of work.</p> <p>Carrots need an almost perfect soil bed to give them the right Ph level to grow, as well as a completely unobstructed path downward; if they run into anything on their way south, they can stunt or branch off. Two-pronged carrots, while still tasty, are not the goal of the gardener, and it isn't uncommon to dig up spindly or dwarfed produce after a long season of tending to them. Fresh carrots have a flavor that some may find off, depending on the nutrients in the soil you grow them in. Considering that a bag of carrots is usually less than $1 a pound, they are a cheap commodity best purchased in the store or farmer's market. (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/baby-carrots-the-frugal-idea-that-isnt?ref=seealso">Baby Carrots: The Frugal Idea That Isn't</a>)</p> <h2>Celery</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Celery%20plant.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>What goes best with carrots? Celery, of course! And this also-affordable veggie can be equally painful to grow at home. It's notorious for requiring water and cool temps, but needs a very long time to mature. If you can keep up with the moisture demands and have a soil type that holds moisture, you will be waiting quite a while for your celery.</p> <h2>Head Lettuce</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/head%20lettuce.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Leaf lettuce is one of the easiest plants to grow in your garden. You simply plant the seed, water, and watch it grow. Head lettuce, on the other hand, requires a watchful wait for the lettuce to grow large enough to create the round ball we are used to seeing in the store. In the meantime, steady watering and temps are necessary to keep the plant from creating flowers &mdash; or bolting. Most gardeners we know stay away from head lettuce, as the Midwest gets so hot, and the premature flowering of the plants make them taste bitter. Going with a leaf lettuce blend isn't just easier, your salads will be more colorful, too!</p> <h2>Corn</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/corn2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you have a large area to work with, sweet corn can be an easy crop to raise. For the average backyard gardener, however, the amount of ground needed for a substantial crop is more than available.</p> <p>Since corn requires many factors to pollinate, including air movement, one single row of corn will not easily produce. Tall corn can easily blow over in the wind or bad weather, as well, making it difficult for anything less than 20 plants to stay upright. Corn usually only puts on two ears or so per plant, giving a lower yield than most garden plants. In the end, it might be easier to stop at that roadside stand and invest in their five for a dollar sale.</p> <p>As with any article on gardening, your mileage will vary by your location, experience, and luck. Even the most seasoned growers have bad years &mdash; and favorite plants!</p> <p><em>What veggie have you sworn off growing? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-worst-things-to-grow-in-your-garden" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Worst Things to Grow in Your Garden" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home Lifestyle fruit gardens vegetables Mon, 11 Aug 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1180565 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: The Home Edition http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-home-edition <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-the-home-edition" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fixing-door-89987115-small.jpg" alt="fixing door" title="fixing door" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some of the best articles around the web on everything related to your home!</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Home-Repairs-You-Can-Do-Yourself-31124855">7 Home Repairs You Can Do Yourself</a> &mdash; Chances are you don't need a professional to do caulking or fix a squeaky door in your home. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2014/06/16/10-tips-most-first-time-home-buyers-dont-consider/">10 Tips Most First-Time Home Buyers Don't Consider</a> &mdash; Most first-time home buyers don't look beyond home staging or research grants or other forms of funding. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://lenpenzo.com/blog/id1317-19-tips-for-saving-a-bundle-of-money-on-home-appliances.html">19 Tips for Saving a Bundle of Money on Home Appliances</a> &mdash; If you want to save a bundle on home appliances, take advantage of price match guarantees or buy a floor model. [Len Penzo dot Com]</p> <p><a href="http://sustainablepersonalfinance.com/house-staging-tips/">34 House Staging Tips</a> &mdash; When you are trying to sell your home, keep the toilet seats down and make sure the windows are washed. [Sustainable Personal Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/seven-simple-tactics-we-use-to-keep-summer-energy-bills-low/">Seven Simple Tactics We Use to Keep Summer Energy Bills Low</a> &mdash; Using ambient lights and ceiling fans can help reduce your summer energy bill. [The Simple Dollar]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2006/08/save_money_by_p.html">Save Money by Planning Your Home Improvements in the Off Season</a> &mdash; If you plan on updating your home heating system, save money by updating it in the summer. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thedebtprincess.com/2013/08/15/frugal-decorating-tips-for-decorating-on-a-dime/">Frugal Decorating: Tips for Decorating on a Dime</a> &mdash; Having patience when it comes to finding the right item for your home and shopping with a list can help keep your decorating costs low. [The Debt Princess]</p> <p><a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/when-does-it-make-sense-to-rent-a-home-instead-of-buy/">When Does It Make Sense to Rent a Home Instead of Buy?</a> &mdash; It may make more sense to rent a home if the mortgage that comes with buying a house isn't affordable. [Money Smart Life]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/home-additions-that-increase-your-insurance-rates/">3 Home Additions That Will Raise Your Insurance Rates</a> &mdash; Adding on an additional room to your home will increase your insurance rates. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-decorate-a-green-baby-nursery">How to Decorate a &quot;Green&quot; Baby Nursery</a> &mdash; To decorate a green baby nursery, opt for wood floors covered with rugs. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-home-edition" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: The Home Edition" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home Real Estate and Housing best money tips home housing Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:00:06 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1147492 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing (and 3 You Shouldn't Try) http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-painting-86495282-small.jpg" alt="couple painting" title="couple painting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When my husband and I bought our first home, I was glued to all those television DIY shows. There were so many things we wanted to do to our starter space, and the Internet hadn't yet exploded with tutorials and inspiration boards. Now? Any and every project you could ever want to do can be found with a quick search. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing?ref=related">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Great</a>)</p> <p>Here are some of the best home and decor improvements even novices can tackle.</p> <h2>1. Leather Refinishing</h2> <p>Have an old, worn leather couch smelling up the place? You can totally revitalize it on the cheap with these <a href="http://knoxvilleflowerpot.blogspot.com/2013/08/how-to-dye-or-stain-leather-furniture.html">easy instructions</a>. You'll need leather cleaner, a good quality dye, and some type of finish coat &mdash; but all the supplies should come in less than $100, depending on the size of your sofa.</p> <h2>2. Blinds Revival</h2> <p>I dream of gorgeous plantation shutters in my home. Thing is, I'm on a plastic blinds sort of budget, so I love this idea to dress them up <a href="http://www.home-dzine.co.za/crafts/craft-sprayblinds.htm">using spray paint</a>. The possibilities are endless! (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-ways-to-use-spray-paint-for-cheap-and-easy-decorating?ref=related">40 Ways to Use Spray Paint for Cheap and Easy Decorating</a>)</p> <h2>3. Fireplace Makeover</h2> <p>Neutralize the dated aspects of your home with &mdash; again &mdash; our friend, spray paint. Those brassy accents disappear with a nice coat of black or, in for a more refined color, &quot;oil-rubbed bronze.&quot; With the fireplace, you'll want to choose a formula specifically <a href="http://www.creationsbykara.com/2011/06/fireplace-makeover-spray-paint-magic.html/">designed for high heat</a>.</p> <h2>4. Like-New Appliances</h2> <p>Our new home has a great, spacious kitchen, but the appliances don't match. Since they're all in good working order, we're considering <a href="http://cozycrookedcottage.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/diy-painted-refrigerator/">painting the refrigerator</a> versus buying a new one. You can use special appliance paint or kits, but the tutorial makes use of standard semi-gloss paint.</p> <h2>5. Light Fixture</h2> <p>Though I don't recommend doing your own electrical work, you can <a href="http://www.lowes.com/cd_Change+a+Light+Fixture_279093251_">replace ceiling light fixtures</a> without much trouble. Just be sure to turn out the power to the room you're working in and connect the wires according to your new light's instruction pamphlet.</p> <h2>6. Board and Batten</h2> <p>Adding architectural detail to a room is simple with this detailed <a href="http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2013/07/home-improvement-diy-board-and-batten.html">board and batten tutorial</a>. You need boards, construction adhesive, nails, and a few other supplies. If you aren't handy with a saw, you might even consider asking the folks at your local lumber supply to do the cuts for you at an extra charge to speed up the process.</p> <h2>7. Television Hide-and-Seek</h2> <p>I drool over media cabinets from those expensive home decor stores. Then I found this <a href="http://dixiedelights.blogspot.com/2013/01/honey-does-diy-flat-screen-tv-cabinet.html">smart solution</a> online &mdash; and I can't wait to get my hands on some 2x4s. This project isn't well detailed, but if you have a somewhat experienced woodworker in the family, the concept is easy to follow. For my &quot;doors&quot; I might use (or create) a piece of artwork that comes in two pieces.</p> <h2>8. Tile Re-Grouting</h2> <p>If you have a section &mdash; or entire room &mdash; of tile that looks dingy and old, consider whether the tile itself really needs fixing, or if you can just fix the grout. You can pick up the supplies to add some new life to those dirty grout lines for very little money &mdash; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTddQ-4EVl8">here's how</a> you do it!</p> <h2>9. Rustic Accent Wall</h2> <p>When I came across this <a href="http://www.bowerpowerblog.com/2010/02/nursery-news-accent-wall/">cozy pallet wall</a>, my jaw literally dropped. It takes some skill, but once you hang the underlayment, it's mostly a puzzle of what pieces look good and where. The author installed it in her son's nursery, but I'd love to put one in my basement recreation room!</p> <h2>10. Custom Built-Ins</h2> <p>When I first came across these <a href="http://thriftydecorchick.blogspot.com/2013/07/dining-room-pretty-organization.html">dining room built-ins</a>, I knew they'd be perfect for almost any room in the house. The author gives <a href="http://thriftydecorchick.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-to-build-built-ins.html">step-by-step instructions</a> for how to select the right cabinets, cut the wood, paint for more artistic flair, etc. &mdash; just note that this project isn't done in a day. However, the time involved is worth it!</p> <h2>11. Smart Shelving</h2> <p>If you're looking to add some unique flair to a room, look outside the home decor department. This <a href="http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/02/nesting-ladder-display-makeover.html">ladder turned shelf</a> could hold anything from plants to books, and it's a great way to turn something old into something treasured. All you need are some planks of wood and wood glue! Leave your ladder unpainted for a most rustic look or use a bright color for some cheer. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-cheap-and-attractive-ideas-for-bookshelves?ref=related">18 Cheap and Attractive Ideas for Bookshelves</a>)</p> <h2>12. Shaker Cabinets</h2> <p>I'm hoping to complete this next project by the end of the summer. Trim out your plain kitchen cabinets <a href="http://www.beautifulmatters.com/2013/02/diy-inexpensive-cabinet-updates/">using yard sticks</a> (or standard trim) for that Shaker look. A little grain filler and paint, and your kitchen will look entirely different for pennies on the dollar.</p> <h2>13. Revived Tub</h2> <p>You can shine up your bathtub without replacing or covering it. Just follow these <a href="http://www.beautifulmatters.com/2013/01/diy-bathtub-refinishing/">simple instructions</a> that explain how everyday products and a tub refinishing kit can take your soaking place from freaky to fab in no time at all.</p> <h2>14. Plywood Planks</h2> <p>Looking for an inexpensive wood flooring solution? These <a href="http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2014/03/diy-wide-plank-floors-made-from-plywood.html">plywood plank floors</a> can be painted or stained and seem pretty darned easy to install. Just be sure to start with a solid, level subfloor and measure twice, cut once. This is another project where you can take advantage of low-cost cuts made at your hardware store.</p> <h2>15. Distressed Look</h2> <p>I'd file this one under <em>Proceed With Caution</em>, but if you like that distressed leather look, <a href="http://desertwillowlaneblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/distressing-new-leather-furniture-diy.html">this tutorial</a> is for you. Even a shiny, brand new piece can turn into that &quot;old favorite&quot; with some sandpaper, rubbing alcohol, a blow dryer, and a few rags.</p> <h2>16. Console Table</h2> <p>Sometimes the furniture you need can't be found at the store. Or maybe what you see in catalogs and online is outrageously expensive. Either way, this <a href="http://somethingisdone.com/diy-behind-the-sofa-table/">behind-the-sofa table</a> appears to be beginner-friendly. Just assemble a few 2x4s and 1x4s, and you're set to paint or stain it anyway you prefer.</p> <h2>17. Shutter Install</h2> <p>Plantation shutters are one of my favorite design elements because they are both beautiful and functional. They are also quite costly, so if you can order online at a discount and then <a href="http://foxhollowcottage.com/2014/04/easy-diy-plantation-shutter-installation.html">install them yourself</a>, it's worth your while.</p> <h2>And Three Things You Should Hire the Pros to Do</h2> <p>It's true that you can do a lot to improve your home and decor (and have a lot of fun doing it). However, it's also important to know and obey your limits, and we all have our limits. Here are a few projects you <em>shouldn't</em> tackle on your own.</p> <h3>Asbestos Removal</h3> <p>A lot of us have those 9x9 titles in our basements and kitchens, but if you suspect your flooring might contain asbestos, it's best to have it tested before doing any DIY demolition. When in good condition, asbestos tiles doesn't pose much threat. When damaged, the fibers become <a href="http://www2.epa.gov/asbestos/protect-your-family">airborne and crumble easily</a>, so it's best to leave the work to experts or leave it alone entirely.</p> <h3>Amateur Handyman</h3> <p>If your local municipality requires a permit for something &mdash; like <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/property/house-and-home/tradesmen/diy-electrical-work-an-experts-opinion-8548135.html">electrical work</a>, plumbing, or knocking down walls, etc. &mdash; you might not have the skills to tackle it on your own. Rather than search around for a quick fix, you'll probably save more money (and your health and safety) in the long run by calling in a professional.</p> <h3>Roofing Repairs</h3> <p>My neighbor recently tore off and re-installed roofing on his garage. A project lower to the ground might be okay, but if you're going to go on a super tall ladder, you should leave it to the professionals. That goes for anything up high, as falls from ladders sent <a href="http://health.yahoo.net/articles/emergency/do-it-yourself-projects-that-lead-to-the-most-er-visits">246,733 Americans</a> to hospital ERs back in 2009. Don't become a statistic!</p> <p><em>Have you tackled any DIY home projects lately? How'd it come out? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try" class="sharethis-link" title="17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing (and 3 You Shouldn&#039;t Try) " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Home DIY home maintenance home projects Home repair Tue, 24 Jun 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1146613 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Ways to Make a Tiny Apartment Awesome http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-make-a-tiny-apartment-awesome <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-ways-to-make-a-tiny-apartment-awesome" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7034137715_58fdc7b882_z.jpg" alt="small apartment" title="small apartment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="170" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Small apartments have their perks: They're generally more affordable, easier to decorate, and easier to clean, just to name a few. The downside, of course, is that the cramped and limiting feeling of living in tiny apartment, often with only one bedroom and little room for hosting guests, can make you feel like your place just doesn't cut it.</p> <p>But what if you could lessen the cons and increase the pros of a smaller place? What if there were ways to make your tiny apartment a fun and amicable living environment? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space?ref=seealso">20 Ways to Live Large in a Small Space</a>)</p> <p>If you can see beyond the square footage and think outside of the box, there are plenty of things you can do to turn your apartment's size in your favor. You don't have wait until you can afford to upgrade either. Make the most of where you are right now with these 12 tips.</p> <h2>1. Install a Hanging Lamp Over the Dinner Table</h2> <p>Lighting is crucial indoors, regardless of the size of the room. If you've got a high ceiling lamp over the kitchen where you eat, replace it with <a href="http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/3c/86/46/3c864690bd899b17c8fe20e22e3a2ce1.jpg">something that hangs down</a> closer to the table. It'll make the lighting cozier and more intimate for when you don't want the entire room illuminated.</p> <h2>2. Repaint the Crown Moulding</h2> <p>Moulding (also called &quot;trim&quot;) is the baseboard around the top or bottom of the rooms in your home. They're a small feature, but can actually add a lot of character. If they've gotten old, faded, or dirty, cleaning and repainting them can add a lot of life to a room.</p> <h2>3. Screen Studio Apartment Sleeping Areas With Curtains</h2> <p>If you own a studio apartment where the bedroom and living area are one and the same, install a <a href="http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/dc/31/e3/dc31e371c68b5bc3d5b2eb171e9d1d86.jpg"> curtain that can be drawn</a> to give the sleeping area a little bit of privacy.</p> <h2>4. Accent a Primarily White Kitchen With Bright Colors</h2> <p>If you have a kitchen that's neutral in color, you can use drying towels, fruit bowls, and whatever else you can can find to sit on the counter as an accent. Go with <a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Is7QM3EB6PI/U5Hahb7BGiI/AAAAAAAAWU4/SvlJ9CyYlbU/s1600/1336-koekken-funky-1.jpg">a gentle color scheme</a> and keep it consistent. You want something that brightens up the room while staying soft and easy on the eyes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-the-most-of-a-tiny-kitchen?ref=seealso">7 Ways to Make the Most of a Small Kitchen</a>)</p> <h2>5. Add a Hammock Chair</h2> <p>You can buy hammocks that are designed to sit in and can function as an extra piece of furniture in your living area. Not only are they comfortable and trendy, but a <a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fNALo_uPROc/U3oVjpfaRKI/AAAAAAAAWQs/V82E6VCv5BE/s1600/SFDC886D63151B8482C8B1B23584976F575_960x.jpg">hammock chair</a> will save you a lot of space.</p> <h2>6. Create Counter Space Over a Front Loading Washer and Dryer</h2> <p>If you really want to invest in a space-saving feature for your apartment, a front-loading <a href="http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/4c/f1/81/4cf1810b44c00cfae856968a08713dbc.jpg">washer and dryer with a countertop</a> is one of the best ways to do so. The countertop will need to be bought separately, but you won't have to spend much since you'll only need one piece.</p> <h2>7. Hang Plants</h2> <p>Smaller apartments are often in the city where you don't get to see much in the way of green plants. <a href="http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/19/e4/06/19e4067452531360742b18998d48cd81.jpg">Hanging some of your own plants</a> from the ceiling allows you to add greenery without using up counter space or creating the need for further organization.</p> <h2>8. Consider Boxed Shelving</h2> <p>If you have a lot of small odds and ends that need shelf space, a <a href="http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/4b/e9/dd/4be9ddb44e36c11810d42bfce2748642.jpg">boxed shelf</a> might be more functional. They're also fairly inexpensive and easy to put together or install.</p> <h2>9. Minimize Your Work Desk</h2> <p>These days, you don't need a cluttered desk to be productive. Stick with a laptop, notebook and one or two writing utensils to free up space.</p> <h2>10. Provide Mood Lighting in the Living Area</h2> <p>What a small space has going for it is coziness. You can take advantage of that by adding some small mood lighting. Generally the living area is the best place for this, since it's where people will spend the most time sitting and enjoying the atmosphere.</p> <h2>11. Go Small With the Entertainment Center</h2> <p>In a smaller apartment, a <a href="http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/37/e4/37/37e43700cbda3aa01317994b0ecac15a.jpg">minimal setup</a> for your entertainment center will save space and give the living area a more roomy feel.</p> <h2>12. Take Advantage of Corner Shelving</h2> <p>A <a href="http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/14/40/c4/1440c44fc51bb1e52f54f02bab1d053f.jpg">small corner shelf</a> is cheap to buy, easy to install, and saves you the floor space that a side table would take up. Consider this option in the bedroom to replace a side table or shelf and the kitchen if you need more counter room.</p> <h2>Adding Visual to Functional</h2> <p>A smaller apartment is almost always going to be more functional in terms of having everything you need close to you.</p> <p>The mistake most people make is to assume that because a place is small, it can't be visually appealing as well. Any kind of space, regardless of its size can be a visually fun and engaging atmosphere. You might need to dig a little deeper to tap into the interior designer in you, but the solutions are generally simple and minimal.</p> <p><em>What relatively simple improvements do you suggest to make a tiny apartment awesomer? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-make-a-tiny-apartment-awesome" class="sharethis-link" title="12 Ways to Make a Tiny Apartment Awesome" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home organization small apartments tiny houses Thu, 19 Jun 2014 21:00:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1144496 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Angie’s List Saves You Money http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-angie-s-list-saves-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-angie-s-list-saves-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6%20Ways%20Angie%27s%20List%20Saves%20Money.png" alt="angie&#039;s list" title="angie&#039;s list" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="129" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you've got a big home improvement project planned or you're just looking to get your A/C unit repaired, you'll need to know how and where to find a service provider that fits the bill and is worth the price.</p> <p>But how do you <em>know</em> that a deal really is a good deal? And how can you be <em>sure</em> that the repairman you're letting in to your house is legit? Enter <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-11800498?sid=bdt">Angie's List</a>.</p> <h3>What Is Angie's List?</h3> <p>Angie's List is a resource that compiles business information from services ranging from house cleaning to HVAC installation and everything in between. Angie's List users submit reviews and ratings to help each other out, plus the reviews and ratings are checked before going up to ensure they're legit. But it you probably want to know if it's worth the cost. Here are six ways Angie's List saves you money.</p> <h2>1. Angie's List Saves You Time</h2> <p>Time is money, people. Sure, if you want to find someone to fix your blinds, you could perform an Internet search for &quot;blind repair [your city]&quot; but then you'll need to do additional research &mdash; is this company legit? What kind of reviews are they getting? Are the <em>reviews</em> legit? What's their pricing? Do they have any coupons or deals?</p> <p>Angie's List compiles all of a company's information on one page, including contact information, trade license information, whether or not a company is bonded and/or insured, any current deals the company is offering, and lots more. Perform a search, check the ratings, pick a provider &mdash; done.</p> <h2>2. Angie's List Offers Daily Deals</h2> <p>For bargain-hunters like me, you'll be pleased to find that Angie's List has a Deals section in which select providers in your area offer packages available to purchase for a limited time. Angie's List reviews and ratings are included within the deal so you can see at a glance what others have said about the company.</p> <p>Here's an example: right now, I can spend $99 for a complete air duct system cleaning with unlimited vents (a $299 value). This is similar to a deal I might find on Groupon, but what makes me use Angie's List vs. Groupon is that I <em>know</em> this company will do a good job &mdash; they have an A rating from over 300 reviews.</p> <h2>3. Angie's List Makes Sure It's Done Right the First Time</h2> <p>Using a highly-rated provider helps ensure that a service will be performed properly the first time.</p> <p>From my own experience: I recently bought a chimney cleaning voucher for $79 from a daily deal website. After the man completed the job, my husband commented that our ShopVac probably could have done the same thing. Now we have to have it redone properly.</p> <h2>4. Angie's List Gives You Confidence</h2> <p>If you <em>know</em> that a company is licensed, insured and bonded, then you <em>know</em> that you (and your insurance company) won't be on the hook for a poor job that they do.</p> <p>There's a License Check tool on Angie's List that makes it easy for you to know who to call or where to search to verify information that a provider has given you. Since licensing procedures and qualifications vary widely by state and profession, it's important to do your due diligence to ensure that a company is legit.</p> <h2>5. Angie's List Rewards You</h2> <p>Since signing up, I've received several emails from Angie's List prompting to send me rewards &mdash; just two days ago I was sent a $20 Starbucks eGift for sharing my thoughts about two service providers of my choosing (easy!).</p> <p>They also have an AngieCash referral program in which you can earn $25 AngieCash for friends that you refer, and your friend will get $15 in AngieCash upon signing up (this may just be for a limited time). AngieCash can be redeemed in the AngieCash store for things like magazine subscriptions, e-gift cards, Vera Bradley totes, and more.</p> <h2>6. Angie's List Sends You Money-Saving Tips</h2> <p>In addition to ratings across all categories, you'll get monthly magazines sent to your home with helpful home saving tips. I thumbed through the magazine I received yesterday and found several useful home maintenance articles and tips to keep things running smoothly.</p> <p>If I've convinced you that yes, Angie's List will really save you money, <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-11800498?sid=bdt">sign up today</a>! </p> <p><em>Have you used Angie's List? I'd love to hear what your experience was like!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-angie-s-list-saves-you-money" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Ways Angie’s List Saves You Money " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-rocha">Carrie Rocha</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home Angie's List repairs Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:04:18 +0000 Carrie Rocha 1142399 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Beat the High Cost of Air Conditioning http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-beat-the-high-cost-of-air-conditioning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-beat-the-high-cost-of-air-conditioning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cooling-fan-177379970-small.jpg" alt="cooling fan" title="cooling fan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on beating the high cost of air conditioning, rules for buying a wedding gift, and what to do after a car accident.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2014/05/30/21-ways-to-beat-the-high-cost-of-air-conditioning/">21 Ways to Beat the High Cost of Air Conditioning</a> &mdash; To beat the high cost of air conditioning, change AC filters monthly and insulate the attic. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://kiplinger.com/article/spending/T050-C000-S002-rules-for-buying-a-wedding-gift.html">4 Rules for Buying a Wedding Gift</a> &mdash; If you receive a wedding invitation but can't go to the wedding, you are still expected to send a gift. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneycrashers.com/what-to-do-after-car-accident/">What to Do After a Car Accident &mdash; Injuries, Damages and Insurance Claims</a> &mdash; After a car accident, treat law enforcement as an ally and take pictures. [Money Crashers]</p> <p><a href="http://www.narrowbridge.net/grocery-bill-500-per-month/">How My Family of Five Keeps Its Grocery Bill Under $500 Per Month</a> &mdash; Remembering that sales are your friends can help keep your grocery bill low. [NarrowBridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/building-a-better-day/">Building a Better Day</a> &mdash; It is important to spend more time actually doing things than just thinking about doing them. [The Simple Dollar]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://onecentatatime.com/8-low-cost-business-ideas-you-should-consider/">8 Low Cost Business Ideas You Should Consider</a> &mdash; If you want to start your own business, consider becoming an event planner or a tutor. [One Cent at a Time]</p> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/money-the-uninvited-third-party/">Money, The Univited Third Party in Your Relationship</a> &mdash; It is important to talk about money with your significant other now rather than later. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/guess-spend-gas.html">Stop Guessing About How Much You'll Spend on Gas</a> &mdash; My Trip Calculator can help you figure out how much you'll spend on gas. [Bargaineering]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Lessons-Dad-Taught-Us-34880780">11 Important Life Lessons Dad Taught Us</a> &mdash; Did your dad teach you to manage your money and DIY? [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/what-every-parent-should-know-about-food-allergies">What Every Parent Should Know About Food Allergies</a> &mdash; When it comes to food allergies, know the difference between allergies and intolerance. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-beat-the-high-cost-of-air-conditioning" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Beat the High Cost of Air Conditioning" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home air conditioning best money tips Mon, 02 Jun 2014 18:00:18 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1141279 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things You're Paying Too Much for Around the House (And How to Pay Less) http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-youre-paying-too-much-for-around-the-house-and-how-to-pay-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-youre-paying-too-much-for-around-the-house-and-how-to-pay-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-shopping-156413605-small.jpg" alt="woman shopping" title="woman shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="189" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're looking to trim your monthly budget, a quick peek around the house might uncover several things that you're paying too much for. Some people complain that they never have cash. The problem, however, may not be too little cash &mdash; but rather not knowing the right ways to stretch their dollars. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy?ref=seealso">35 Grocery Items You Should Make at Home</a>)</p> <p>Whether you're looking to increase your disposable income or stay within budget, spending less on these nine things will keep cash in your bank account.</p> <h2>1. Medications</h2> <p>Over-the-counter and prescription medications provide relief from minor and major illnesses, but if you're buying brand name meds, you're probably spending more than necessary for treatment. The truth is, you can <a href="http://www.forbes.com/pictures/ehhh45glf/over-the-counter-medications/">save tremendously with a generic</a> or store-brand medication, as much as 40%. Generic meds include the same active ingredients, quality, and strength of brand names. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/market-clones-how-to-pay-drastically-less-for-pricey-products?ref=seealso">How to Pay Drastically Less for Pricey Products</a>)</p> <h2>2. Household Cleaners</h2> <p>There's really no need to have every type of cleaning product underneath your kitchen sink, especially when there are solutions that include multiple ingredients for multiple surfaces. Read the label on cleaning products and you might discover that a product designed for dusting can also be used to clean glass, thus eliminating the need to purchase a stockpile of products. You can also save money with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners?ref=internal">homemade cleaners</a> using water, vinegar, and baking soda.</p> <h2>3. Bottled Water</h2> <p>It's convenient to grab bottled water from the fridge. And although the price per unit is relatively inexpensive if buying in bulk, it adds up quickly if you're buying several cases a month. However, you can save money by skipping disposable water bottles and using a basic pitcher-style water filter or a sink/faucet mount filtration system. In fact, &quot;a family of four can potentially <a href="http://home.howstuffworks.com/appliances/energy-efficient/save-money-with-water-filter1.htm">save $2,878.57</a> each year by switching from bottled water to a water filter.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-water-filters?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Water Filters</a>)</p> <h2>4. Cable Television</h2> <p>It's nice to have options when you're ready to relax with the remote control. But if you don't have much time for television, or if you only watch a few select programs, it doesn't make sense to pay a hundred bucks &mdash; or more! &mdash; each month for a top-notch cable package. You can save a nice chunk of change by downgrading to a package that matches your viewing needs, or ditching cable altogether and streaming your favorite television programs from Netflix or Hulu. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-everyone-can-cut-cable-and-still-watch-what-they-love-even-sportsfans">How Everyone Can Cut Cable and Still Watch the Shows They Love</a>)</p> <h2>5. Toothbrushes</h2> <p>With thousands of rotating motions per minute, there's no denying the benefits of an electronic toothbrush or its ability to reduce plaque and gingivitis. These toothbrushes essentially take the work out of brushing your teeth, but with a price tag as high as $100, not everyone can afford a fancy toothbrush.</p> <p>The good news is that you don't need a fancy, expensive toothbrush to keep your teeth healthy and clean. Your hand might not be able to mimic the rotation of an electronic brush, but if you're <a href="http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Oral-Hygiene/Brushing-and-Flossing/article/How-to-Brush.cvsp" style="text-decoration:none;">brushing properly</a>, using mouthwash, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist every six months, you can keep your mouth just as healthy with an old-fashioned toothbrush.</p> <h2>6. Pre-Packaged Foods</h2> <p>When you're busy and hungry, it's definitely easier to buy pre-packaged meals at the grocery store or purchase vegetables and fruits that are already chopped and sliced. However, this costly convenience adds to your grocery bill. Ready-to-eat meals can be as much as <a href="http://www.pocketyourdollars.com/2010/10/homemade-alternatives-to-pre-packaged-foods-lower-cost-and-healthier-too/">6 to 10 times more expensive</a> per serving than preparing the item. The trick to paying less is simple &mdash; plan ahead and purchase fresh ingredients to prepare meals yourself. This approach is not only cheaper, but healthier since you're able to control the sodium and portions of each meal.</p> <h2>7. Home Fragrances</h2> <p>&quot;Consumers <a href="http://www.forbes.com/pictures/ehhh45glf/room-fragrances-and-candles/">spend more than $5 billion</a> each year on room deodorizers, scented oils and candles,&quot; reports Forbes. This might be a small price to pay if you need to quickly eliminate a stale odor in your house before guests arrive. But rather than pay $15 for a fancy candle, open a window and allow fresh air inside, or give your place a thorough cleaning.</p> <h2>8. Shampoo</h2> <p>Paying $20 for a bottle of expensive shampoo won't necessarily result in cleaner hair, although your locks may smell amazingly fresh after each wash. If you're only concerned with cleanliness and couldn't care less about a lingering sweet scent, you're better off with a cheaper store shampoo, such as Suave or Garnier. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dryer-sheets-shampoo-and-15-other-everyday-things-you-can-make-at-home?ref=seealso">Dryer Sheets, Shampoo, and 15 Other Everyday Things&nbsp;You Can Make at Home</a>)</p> <h2>9. Non-Refillable Goop</h2> <p>Detergents, hand soaps, and cleaning products keep the home and body clean, but you're probably paying too much for these items if you buy a new bottle each time you run out. For a cheaper replacement, keep your original packaging or bottle and purchase refill packs. Since you're not purchasing a new dispenser, you'll save money in the long run.</p> <p><em>Do you have other items to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-youre-paying-too-much-for-around-the-house-and-how-to-pay-less" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Things You&#039;re Paying Too Much for Around the House (And How to Pay Less)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home Shopping home goods home supplies household supplies Mon, 02 Jun 2014 16:00:27 +0000 Mikey Rox 1141205 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-lower-your-electric-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-easy-ways-to-lower-your-electric-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-470351123.jpg" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My family is looking to move into a new house in the near future. With all the added rooms and exciting DIY projects on the horizon, I realize we'll also need to more carefully watch our utilities costs. More space equals more places to heat, plug in lamps, and otherwise use electricity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-win-the-war-against-this-summers-electric-bill?ref=seealso">4 Ways to Win the War With Your Electric Bill This Summer</a>)</p> <p>Whether you live in a small studio apartment or a sprawling McMansion, there are some smart, easy ways you can cut down on your electric bill. And many of these tips are things you can implement today to garner savings immediately. As always, if you have more tips to share, please leave them in the comments!</p> <h2>1. Open and Close</h2> <p>For some of us, switching on lights is more habit than necessity. So, in the daylight, avoid using lamps and other illuminating devices. Instead, open blinds to let the sun flood in. On the other hand, you can keep a home considerably cooler on hot days by closing curtains. I know this from personal experience! Before hitting high on your AC unit, you might want to try this trick.</p> <h2>2. Set the Bar</h2> <p>Have you looked at your water heater lately? Chances are your temperature might be set above the energy efficient suggestion of <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/clean-water/does-turning-down-my-water-heater-really-make-a-difference.html">120 degrees</a> (or often marked &quot;warm&quot; or as a triangle on your heater's settings). If you need scalding hot water for tea or cooking, heat it on the stove.</p> <h2>3. Maintain It</h2> <p>Something as silly as a dirty furnace filter can cost you money when it comes to heating costs. The same goes with any other machine or component you must maintain. Plus, keeping your operations up-to-date is safer than neglecting them, and it may extend the life of the appliance &mdash; meaning even bigger savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-fridge-last-almost-forever-with-these-8-tips?ref=seealso)">Make Your Fridge Last Forever</a>)</p> <h2>4. Unplug Yourself</h2> <p>This tip is twofold: Unplug your electronics when they're not in use &mdash; including battery chargers and power adapters &mdash; they still suck power from outlets and power strips even when off. Better yet, truly unplug by heading outdoors to read a book or to exercise. Totally free!</p> <h2>5. Negotiate</h2> <p>Take stock of your bills from the past year and see if you can strike a deal with your provider(s). You may also explore spreading out your costs so they are the same each month versus fluctuating seasonally to help make your budget more predictable. Don't be shy to shop around if there's more than one electric provider in your area.</p> <h2>6. Shift Your Day</h2> <p>While you're at it, ask your provider if there are &quot;off peak&quot; or &quot;time-of-use&quot; rates or times of the day when electricity costs less. You can choose to do your laundry, blow-dry your hair, cook a great meal, wash your dishes, or do any other task at the cheaper rate.</p> <h2>7. Slow the Flow</h2> <p>I think we all remember the &quot;<a href="http://www.seinfeldscripts.com/TheShowerhead.htm">Seinfeld&quot; episode</a> with the superintendent switches out the showerheads to low flow. If you're really into pinching pennies, swapping yours out can mean <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ethicallivingblog/2008/mar/14/switchtolowflowshowerheads">less water to heat</a> over the course of your shower. Limiting yourself to a shorter shower, too, is another drop in the bucket.</p> <h2>8. Upgrade Your Thermostat</h2> <p>When we had to upgrade to a new furnace (ouch!), our contractor also updated us to a programmable thermostat. By setting designated temperatures for night and day, we have definitely saved money. Plus, now I don't have to remember to adjust the temperature every night before bed.</p> <h2>9. Survey Bulbs</h2> <p>By now I think most of us are familiar with compact fluorescent bulbs as a great alternative to conventional incandescents. But did you know there are other energy efficient options like LED? A little extra money up front can mean <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/certified-products/detail/light_bulbs">up to $40 to $135 per bulb</a> over a bulb's lifetime.</p> <h2>10. Put Your Laptop to Sleep</h2> <p>Enable your computer's energy savings features, they could save you upwards of <a href="http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/energy-efficient-computer-use">$30 each year</a> on electricity costs per computer. Sounds like an insignificant amount, but it's still your money and a super simple fix.</p> <h2>11. Put a Damper on Things</h2> <p>If your home features a fireplace, be sure to close the flue when its not in use. Otherwise the outdoor air, whether hot or cold, will infiltrate your home and suck energy (to adjust your home's temperature) along with it.</p> <h2>12. Fan Yourself</h2> <p>No matter the time of year, ceiling fans can be useful for inexpensive temperature control. In the summer, run them on low to keep air flow up and air-conditioning costs down. In the winter, use the switch to reverse the blades to draw warm air down into a room from the ceiling.</p> <h2>13. Cook Smart (I)</h2> <p>Use the correct sized burners when heating up a tea kettle or dinner on the stove. For example, using a &quot;six-inch pan on an eight-inch electric burner can waste <a href="http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/residential/appliances/ranges.html">more than 40%</a> of the heat produced.&quot;</p> <h2>14. Cook Smart (II)</h2> <p>While you're at it, resist the urge to check on baked goods by opening the door, which can drop the temperature by <a href="http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/residential/appliances/ranges.html">up to 25 degrees</a>. If you need to use your appliance's self-cleaning option, try planning it after cooking a meal to use less energy heating to the highest temperatures.</p> <h2>15. Switch It Off</h2> <p>And one of the simplest ways to save money on your electric bill is to always remember to turn off lights or other electronic devices when you're leaving a room. It sounds ridiculously easy, but it can take some getting used to for the whole family. You may wish to place a reminder note at each switch as a first step in the right direction.</p> <p><em>How do you conserve energy and keep your electric bill in check? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-lower-your-electric-bill" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Home conservation electric bill saving energy utilities Tue, 27 May 2014 08:12:24 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1140317 at http://www.wisebread.com Protect Your Home and Family From Fire With These Easy Safety Basics http://www.wisebread.com/protect-your-home-and-family-from-fire-with-these-easy-safety-basics <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/protect-your-home-and-family-from-fire-with-these-easy-safety-basics" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bulb-77292958.jpg" alt="changing light bulb" title="changing light bulb" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here is some good news: The number of deaths from fires has been steadily <a href="http://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/estimates/trend_overall.shtm">on the decline</a> since 2001. However, the risk of accidental death or injury from fires has not been eradicated. In 2010, for example, one person was <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/fire-prevention/fires-factsheet.html">injured in a fire every 30 minutes</a>, and another human being lost his or her life every 169 minutes. Yes, the risks are still out there, and most of them are in the home. That's why it's important for everyone, individuals and families alike, to tick off the boxes on the checklist below to ensure their home is risk free when it comes to accidental fires.</p> <h2>1. Use Appropriate Light Bulbs</h2> <p dir="ltr">The idea of being diligent when selecting light bulbs may seem silly to some, but a healthy number of accidental home fires are the direct result of using light bulbs with wattages incompatible with certain household sockets. That's why it's important to ensure the wattage of each light bulb used in a home is properly rated for the specific socket. Homeowners can also err on the side of caution and use 60-watt bulbs at all times.</p> <h2>2. Check Cords</h2> <p dir="ltr">Frayed or otherwise damaged cords can present a serious fire hazard in the home and therefore should be periodically checked to ensure they are in top condition with no exposed wiring. Also, it is crucial never to cover cords with rugs, carpets or tape, as this can cut off airflow to the wiring, which can lead to damage.</p> <h2>3. Position Home Appliances Correctly</h2> <p dir="ltr">This goes beyond the basic rule of keeping portable heaters at least three feet away from flammable objects. Even the cord of a toaster oven running near a stove can present a serious fire hazard. A good rule of thumb is to keep any appliance &mdash; plus its wiring &mdash; away from direct heat sources.</p> <h2>4. Look for Faulty Switches and Outlets</h2> <p dir="ltr">A dysfunctional outlet or switch is, unfortunately, one of the prime causes of accidental dwelling fires. The good news is there are easy ways to spot damage to a home outlet or light switch. Warning signs include:</p> <ul> <li>Outlets or switches that are hot or warm to the touch.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Humming or buzzing sounds emanating from the switch or socket.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Loose plugs.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Homeowners should perform periodic checks of their switches and outlets to ensure safety and functionality.</p> <h2>5. Maintain Working Smoke Alarms</h2> <p dir="ltr">The tragedy is that so many of past years' accidental dwelling fires could have been prevented had homeowners simply installed working smoke alarms. As a standard, smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home as well as outside of sleeping areas. Also, residents should perform once-a-month checks on every smoke alarm in the home and change the batteries once a year.</p> <p dir="ltr">By following these simple guidelines, residents across the country should be able to maintain a home free of accidental dwelling fires and do their part to continue the decline of death and injury by fire.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Have you taken additional steps to protect your home and family from fire? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/protect-your-home-and-family-from-fire-with-these-easy-safety-basics" class="sharethis-link" title="Protect Your Home and Family From Fire With These Easy Safety Basics" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-mcmurphy">Chris McMurphy</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home fire home safety insurance safety Wed, 14 May 2014 08:12:22 +0000 Chris McMurphy 1139230 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/groceries-450745419.jpg" alt="groceries" title="groceries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average person generates <a href="http://center.sustainability.duke.edu/resources/green-facts-consumers/how-much-do-we-waste-daily">4.3 pounds of waste</a> every day, and well over half of this waste (about 220 million tons) ends up in a landfill. Not only is this rate of trash production terrible for the planet, it wastes lots of your hard-earned money. While that single-use item or throw-away packaging feels convenient, disposable items are the same as throwing money in the trash. Save money, and be kind to the planet, by switching to one of these cost-effective reusable replacements instead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse?ref=seealso">21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse</a>)</p> <h2>1. Rechargeable Batteries</h2> <p>While rechargeable <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-long-lasting-aa-batteries">batteries</a> cost more initially, they can be reused hundreds of times and last for years, if used properly. At the end of their life cycle, rechargeable batteries can be recycled to keep toxic chemicals out of the landfill.</p> <h2>2. Water Bottles</h2> <p>Bottled water has to be the biggest scam ever. Despite what the industry says, <a href="http://www.banthebottle.net/articles/think-reusable-bottles-forget-plastic-bottled-water/">bottled water</a> isn't any cleaner or healthier than tap water. The production of one plastic bottle uses more water to produce than actually put into the bottle for drinking! Skip the scam and carry tap water in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-a-lifefactory-reusable-glass-water-bottle">a non-BPA water bottle</a> instead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">The Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles</a>)</p> <h2>3. Diva Cup</h2> <p>Disposable pads and tampons aren't the only option. Ladies, if you'd like to save money and be kind to the planet during your time of the month, consider a reusable option like <a href="http://matadornetwork.com/goods/no-tampons-no-problem-alternative-products-for-female-travelers/">menstrual cups or washable pads</a>.</p> <h2>4. Glass Food Storage Containers</h2> <p>Plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and cheap plastic containers are all money in the trash. If you've got leftovers, or want to bring your lunch to work, store food in reusable glass containers instead (glass is better than plastic because it won't leach toxins into your food or retain food residue).</p> <h2>5. Cloth Shopping Bags</h2> <p>Those plastic bags they give you at the store aren't free. You pay for them in the form of increased food prices. They also take hundreds of years to break down in the landfill, often becoming microscopic plastic waste in the ocean. Buy or make your own cloth shopping bags, and you could receive a nice credit at the register. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans?ref=seealso">20 New Things You Can Make With Old Denim Jeans</a>)</p> <h2>6. DIY Swiffer Pads</h2> <p>If (like me) you've only got a small uncarpeted area, a full size mop and bucket are unnecessary. With a Swiffer you can give your kitchen and bathroom a quick once over without all the fuss. Instead of constantly buying disposable pads, make your own <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Swiffer-Mop-Pad-a-reusable-one!/">Swiffer pad</a> or buy a <a href="http://www.etsy.com/search_results.php?search_type=tag_title&amp;search_query=swiffer">washable one</a> on Etsy.</p> <h2>7. Safety Razor</h2> <p>Most of us shave at least one body part, and disposable razor heads are astronomically expensive. There are lots of <a href="http://www.care2.com/greenliving/6-greener-alternatives-to-disposable-razors.html">greener alternatives to disposable razors</a>, however, including some that can be sharpened repeatedly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-shaving-with-these-razor-tricks?ref=seealso">Save Money On Shaving With These Razor Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>8. Cloth Napkins and Cleaning Wipes</h2> <p>Paper napkins, paper towels, tissues, and disposable cleaning wipes are convenient, but incredibly wasteful. Using washable cloth napkins and handkerchiefs, and turning <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-old-t-shirts">old t-shirts</a> into reusable cleaning cloths, will save heaps of money and drastically reduce your garbage production.</p> <h2>9. Permanent Coffee Filter</h2> <p>Still using bleached paper coffee filters to brew your morning java? Save lots of money with a permanent, reusable coffee filter instead. When dirty, simply run it through the dishwasher.</p> <h2>10. Diapers and Baby Wipes</h2> <p>Unlike disposable diapers, which cost a fortune, cloth diapers are softer, less-toxic, and result in zero landfill waste. Same thing goes for baby wipes. Consider using <a href="http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php">cloth diapers</a> and making your own reusable <a href="http://www.inhabitots.com/how-to-make-a-reusable-cloth-baby-wipe-kit/">cloth baby wipes kit</a>.</p> <h2>11. Dryer Balls</h2> <p>Fabric softener and dryer sheets are an expensive way to get the soft, clean-smelling clothes that you want. Save time, money, and energy with these <a href="http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/09/save-time-money-and-energy-make-your-own-wool-dryer-balls.html">DIY wool dryer balls</a> instead (tennis balls also work in a pinch, but they're loud).</p> <h2>12. Reusable Straws</h2> <p>Unless you're a baby (or have a physical condition that makes drinking difficult) I'm not really sure why you need a straw. Nevertheless, using a washable <a href="http://glassdharma.com/">glass</a> or <a href="http://www.reuseit.com/coffee-tea-and-drink-preparation/rsvp-international-stainless-steel-drinking-straws-wide-set-of-4.htm">metal straw</a> instead of the plastic ones drastically reduces waste.</p> <h2>13. Permanent Air Filter</h2> <p>To keep your home and car running efficiently, you need a clean air filter. Many people simply replace these disposable filters every few months, not realizing there are permanent alternatives.</p> <h2>14. Wrapping Paper</h2> <p>Paper wrappings and gift bags look good, but are often only used for minutes before being tossed in the trash. Save money and reduce paper waste with <a href="http://inhabitat.com/6-eco-friendly-gift-wrap-alternatives/">eco-friendly alternatives</a> like cloth gift bags and upcycled wrappings.</p> <h2>15. Paper Plates and Plastic Utensils</h2> <p>Whether you're planning a picnic (or simply packing a lunch) strive to use traditional metal cutlery that can be washed repeatedly. Really need a disposable option? Try compostable alternatives made from corn or bamboo.</p> <h2>16. Toothbrush</h2> <p>Toothbrush bristles wear out quickly, so to maintain a healthy smile, they've got to be replaced. This doesn't mean the entire toothbrush needs to end up in the trash, however. You can reduce 93% of toothbrush waste by using toothbrush handles with <a href="http://www.radiustoothbrush.com/sourcetoothbrush.aspx">replaceable heads</a>.</p> <h2>17. Vacuum Bags</h2> <p>Vacuums that require disposable bags are, well, vintage to say the least. Upgrade to a vacuum that features an easy-to-empty canister and washable air filter, and never waste money on vacuum bags again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-robotic-vacuums?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Robotic Vacuums</a>)</p> <p><em>Anything I've missed? Use the reusable comments box below to share your favorite reusables!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products" class="sharethis-link" title="17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beth-buczynski">Beth Buczynski</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Green Living Home green living recycle reuse Tue, 13 May 2014 08:24:22 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1138731 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Turn Your Black Thumb Green http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-your-black-thumb-green <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-turn-your-black-thumb-green" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garden-5247166-small.jpg" alt="garden" title="garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's that time of year again. Spring is&hellip; springing. If you live in a place with four seasons, like me, then the trees are starting to bud, the tulips and daffodils are blooming, and you're starting to think about adding to the natural beauty in your little corner of the world by planting something.</p> <p>And some of you are terrified.</p> <p>I know that feeling. I am a reformed plant killer. For years, I would start plants every spring only to forget them, neglect them, or watch them die in spite of my best efforts. I had almost given up on being able to have a beautiful garden.</p> <p>And then I started learning. Slowly but surely, by asking the right questions, I learned how to help my plants thrive and not die. Now, I am living proof that growing plants is a learned skill and that you can turn your black thumb green. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-veggies-to-plant-this-spring?ref=seealso">10 Easy Veggies to Plant This Spring</a>)</p> <h2>General Principles</h2> <p>Before I get into specific things you can do to give your plants a better chance at survival, there are a few principles that you should apply whenever you want to grow something.</p> <h3>Observe</h3> <p>Before you plant anything, before you even go to the store and decide what plants you want, decide where you want to plant and observe that area. How much light does it get? How much water? Is it within reach of your sprinklers, or would you have to water it by hand? Are you willing or able to commit to that?</p> <p>Giving yourself a couple of days to observe and think about where you want to plant will help you choose plants that are appropriate to the place and the amount of water the plant will get, which can make all the difference in the world.</p> <h3>Ask a Gardener</h3> <p>Do you know someone with a lovely garden? By all means, ask him or her for advice. But even if you don't know any experienced gardeners, ask someone at your local nursery.</p> <p>Be as specific as possible when you ask for advice on what to plant. Say something like, &quot;I want to plant in a container that will sit on my porch. It will have sun in the morning but not in the afternoon, and I will probably be able to water it 2-3 times per week.&quot;</p> <p>When you do this, an experienced gardener can usually give you a pretty good idea of what will thrive in your space... and what will not. Many new gardeners fail because they plant the wrong plants in a space. If your plant needs shade and lots of water, it will die if you plant it where it will get sun all day.</p> <p>In addition to some of this basic knowledge, many gardeners have location-specific knowledge about some plants. For instance, they may know that, while a particular plant usually needs a lot of sun, in your particular locale it should have shade in the afternoon because of excessive heat. This sort of knowledge can make or break your garden.</p> <h3>Accept Some Defeat</h3> <p>Everyone is going to kill some of their plants. Even experienced gardeners know that, sometimes, things just don't work. Maybe you got a damaged plant and didn't know it, or maybe another plant nearby simply takes over in early summer. Recognizing that there is a give and take in gardening can help you accept it when something doesn't work out the way you'd planned.</p> <h2>Tips and Tricks</h2> <p>While most plants just need to be planted in the right spot and then get the right amount of water and sun to thrive, there are some things you can do that might help your plants grow, or things you might want to do as a gardener that might seem trickier than they actually are. Here are some ideas for dealing with those things.</p> <h3>1. Water With Diet or Club Soda</h3> <p>Because of the nutrients in <a href="http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/using-soda-on-plants.htm">diet and/or club soda</a>, both can help you have greener and healthier plants. While you don't want to substitute for water entirely, adding these to your watering regimen can be good for your plants. Just don't water with sugared soda, as this is <em>not</em> helpful for plant health and growth.</p> <h3>2. Learn How to Grow From Cuttings</h3> <p>Save money by <a href="http://www.fiberfarm.com/2012/04/propagating-rosemary">propagating plants like rosemary and lavender</a> from cuttings. This is cheaper than buying the plants from the store and can be easy if you follow all of the directions. Be sure to use rooting hormone, as it makes the process faster and more likely to produce the plant you want.</p> <h3>3. Add Tea and Coffee Grounds to Your Soil</h3> <p>Some plants, like blueberries, azaleas, and rhododendrons, love acidic soil (this is information you can get from your experienced gardener!). If you're planting some of these, add a sprinkling of &frac14; inch of tea or coffee grounds to the soil each month, and its pH should stay on the acidic side.</p> <h3>4. Start Seedlings in Lemon Halves</h3> <p>If you live in a cooler climate, you may want to start some of your plants inside before it's warm enough to plant them outside. Halve a lemon, carve out the fruit, and poke a small hole in the bottom for drainage. Then, <a href="https://brightnest.com/posts/2x4-four-ways-to-use-fruit-rinds">plant your seed in the half lemon</a>. This adds to the nutrients your plant will get, and you can put the whole thing in the ground when you finally plant.</p> <h3>5. Use Some Plants to Shade Others</h3> <p>Growing vegetables can get tricky, because most vegetable gardens get more sun than some plants need. If you <a href="http://www.floridavegetablegarden.com/?attachment_id=403">grow climbing plants on a trellis</a> at an angle over some of these other plants, then you can achieve the part-shade necessary for optimal plant growth. You can put vegetables, like cucumbers, on the trellis, or you can grow something like morning glory to provide your shade.</p> <h3>6. Pluck the First Flowers</h3> <p>Plants need to devote themselves to growing solid roots before they focus on fruit. Thus, if you <a href="http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/tomato-growing-tips?page=0,1">pluck the first flowers on your vegetable plants</a>, they will have a better chance at getting the root system they need to support better fruit later on. This is particularly true for tomatoes, though it can be applied to any fruit-bearing plant.</p> <h3>7. Water in the Morning</h3> <p>Or at dusk. Just <a href="http://www.greenhousecatalog.com/natural-gardening">avoid watering in the heat of the day</a>. This saves water, but it also protects your plants from burning and helps them avoid excessive water loss from evaporation.</p> <h3>8. Use Packing Peanuts to Improve Drainage</h3> <p>When you're planting in a pot, it's important to have good drainage in place. Alternate <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20349692_20751980,00.html">layers of packing peanuts with layers of soil</a> to help achieve this goal. You can also use small rocks to achieve this, but packing peanuts have the added bonus of being light, making the pot easier to move.</p> <h3>9. Use Coffee Filters to Save Soil</h3> <p>You may have noticed that most pots for plants have small holes in the bottom. That's so any excess water can drain out. However, you can also lose soil this way. <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/new-uses-for-old-things/new-uses-gardening/print-index.html">Line the bottom of your pots with coffee filters</a> to avoid this problem.</p> <h3>10. Fertilize With Milk</h3> <p>Because of the amount of calcium it contains, as well as some other nutrients, <a href="http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/milk-fertilizer.htm">milk is a great fertilizer for most plants</a>. This is especially true if you're wanting to avoid commercial fertilizers. If you're concerned about antibiotics on your plants, be sure to buy organic milk!</p> <h3>11. Add Egg Shells</h3> <p><a href="http://girlonbikewrites.blogspot.com/2011/06/using-egg-shells-in-garden.html">Adding egg shell halves around your plants</a> can deter certain types of pests, and putting them in the bottom of a hole where you plant can help your plants get more calcium, which many plants need to grow and some need to help avoid certain types of rot. Experimenting with this can help you figure out which plants need extra help growing.</p> <h3>12. Make a Mini Greenhouse</h3> <p><a href="http://spoonful.com/crafts/spring-bottle">Use half a soda bottle</a> over a seedling to create the warmer environment your seed might need to sprout. This can help ensure that your summer garden is successful by giving your seeds a jump start at growth.</p> <h3>13. Regrow Green Onions</h3> <p>Even if you don't have time or space for a regular garden, or if you're still terrified of killing things, <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/re-growing-green-onions-grow-your-scallions-back-on-your-windowsill-165274">try putting the bottom parts of used green onions in water on your window sill</a>. These tend to grow fast and can be planted outside, later, if you'd rather have them in dirt than water.</p> <p><em>Happy gardening! If you have any tips or tricks to add to the list, let me know.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-your-black-thumb-green" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Turn Your Black Thumb Green" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Green Living Home gardening gardens green thumb Mon, 12 May 2014 09:00:20 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1138730 at http://www.wisebread.com You're Washing Your Clothes Too Often! (What to Do Instead) http://www.wisebread.com/youre-washing-your-clothes-too-often-what-to-do-instead <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/youre-washing-your-clothes-too-often-what-to-do-instead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/84521763.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was in middle school, I remember girls being horrified at the thought of wearing the same pair of jeans twice in a single week. Even worse, if your jeans hadn't been washed after just one wear, you obviously didn't have good hygiene habits. There are certainly times when I wish I was still a kid, but with regard to those ways of thinking &mdash; I'm so happy to have evolved. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/defensive-laundry-9-ways-to-help-your-clothes-last-longer?ref=seealso">Defensive Laundry to Help Your Clothes Last</a>)</p> <p>Not only is chronically over-washing clothing wasteful of precious resources, but it's also costly in a number of other ways. There's tons of detergent involved, utilities costs (water and electricity), time and energy, as well as the negative impact frequent washing has on the clothing itself. So, save yourself some money and lighten your load a bit, quite literally.</p> <p>Here are 10 ways to break out of the wash cycle.</p> <h2>1. Inspect Before Tossing</h2> <p>Before you mindlessly toss your clothes into the laundry basket at the end of the day, consider if they are truly soiled or not. Items like underwear and undershirts or exercise clothing will certainly need more washing than, say, a sweatshirt or jeans that have been layered or otherwise kept out of dirt's way. A lot of the clothes that are currently in our laundry baskets are &mdash; for all intents and purposes &mdash; clean. So, break the habit and learn the basics of <a href="https://shopping.yahoo.com/news/wash-handbook-000000296.html">how long certain items last</a> without a full wash.</p> <h2>2. Hang to Dry Breathe</h2> <p>It's OK to do a little sniff test to ensure your clothing is still somewhat fresh after a day of wear. What will keep items that way longer is picking them up off the floor and hanging on an open rack to let air circulate around and through the fibers. Plus, letting them linger on the floor only invites more dirt (or, if you have pets, worse!) and opportunity for wrinkles to develop.</p> <h2>3. Skip Washing Entirely</h2> <p>For those items that don't need immediate washing, push the envelope a bit. Tullia Jack, PhD student at RMIT University, challenged a group of 30 people to wear the same pair of jeans at least five days each week for a three-month period without washing them. They discovered that after all those wears, they &quot;<a href="http://theconversation.com/the-dirt-on-clothes-why-washing-less-is-more-sustainable-11531">weren&rsquo;t visibly dirty</a> and they didn't get smelly.&quot; Now, you don't need to go the whole three month challenge, but start with a week and work your way up to a month. You might surprise yourself!</p> <h2>4. Spot-Treat</h2> <p>And just because you're skipping the total washing experience doesn't mean you can't treat little stains that might plague your otherwise clean clothing. Martha Stewart has a rather elaborate guide for <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/265555/removing-stains-the-basics">removing stains from clothing</a>. Also check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-homemade-stain-removers-that-kick-butt">6 Secret Homemade Stain Removers</a>.</p> <h2>5. Freshen and Press</h2> <p>For clothes that might get wrinkly with wear, simply hang as you would the others to air out. When it comes time to wear again, spritz with some <a href="http://theimperfectmarriage.weebly.com/14/post/2012/02/linen-and-ironing-spray.html">DIY linen and ironing spray</a> and iron out those kinks. Alternatively, you could spritz clothing until damp with a little spray (or just <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/hot-tip-no-iron-ironing-1-135847">plain tap water</a>) and hang to dry, which should loosen and smooth wrinkles.</p> <h2>6. Keep Up With Routine</h2> <p>For duds that require more frequent washing, be sure to keep up with your laundry habits. This method is a simple way to avoid re-washing items forgotten overnight in a machine (musty smell). Worse? I've had clean and dirty clothing get intermixed and not been able to discern between the two categories. Set designated laundry nights or days and try to get the job done in a couple hours versus spreading it over the course of a week. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-missing-socks?ref=seealso">Where to Find Missing Socks</a>)</p> <h2>7. Change Into Play Clothes</h2> <p>If you have kids (or act like one yourself), you may wish to save your more expensive items by changing into &quot;play&quot; or lounge clothing when you return home from the day's responsibilities. You don't need to wash these at-home clothes as often as you would the nicer items &mdash; just wash once or twice each week, depending on the level of soil.</p> <h2>8. Rinse Well</h2> <p>A trick my husband and I use for exercise clothing: If it's just a simple pair of shorts, a sports bra, or a tech t-shirt &mdash; take it in the shower with you after your workout. From there, rinse well with cool water. Then wring out and hang to dry. You can wear again for tomorrow's run!</p> <h2>9. Wear Protection</h2> <p>It's clear that keeping clothes cleaner from the start means washing less. You need not live in a bubble to do so, however. As an avid home cook, for example, I have several aprons in my collection to protect my clothing from the various spills, splatters, and stains I encounter on a daily basis. If you garden or do other messy activities on the regular, wear similar protective layers to keep your garments covered. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-to-keeping-your-kitchen-clean-while-you-cook?ref=seealso">Keep Your Kitchen Clean While You Cook</a>)</p> <h2>10. Choose Fabrics Wisely</h2> <p>Certain materials lend themselves to fewer washes better than others. If you'd like to do far less laundry, <a href="http://wptest.myshopify.com/pages/wool-science">wool clothing</a> might be a good option for you. The natural fibers resist stains, odors, wrinkles, and moisture. Wool even regulates body temperature so you're likely to sweat less and, in turn, not soil clothing as often. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-dont-need-to-clean?ref=seealso">You Don't Need to Clean Wool</a>)</p> <p><em>How often do you wash your clothing? Any tips to share for those of us looking to cut back?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-washing-your-clothes-too-often-what-to-do-instead" class="sharethis-link" title="You&#039;re Washing Your Clothes Too Often! (What to Do Instead)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Green Living Home clothes washing clothing conservation laundry Mon, 28 Apr 2014 09:36:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1136962 at http://www.wisebread.com