Home http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3754/all en-US 9 Home Improvements You Should Always Negotiate http://www.wisebread.com/9-home-improvements-you-should-always-negotiate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-home-improvements-you-should-always-negotiate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_diy_blueprints_000037414960.jpg" alt="Man learning types of home improvements to negotiate" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Contractors aren't easy to haggle with. You can't negotiate the price of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big">home improvements</a> in the same way you can with car salesmen. But that doesn't mean you're locked in to whatever the contractor first says.</p> <p>When negotiating the cost of home improvements, it helps to start off with a solid idea of what you want to pay. Be honest about your budget, and your contractor will do his or her best to complete the project accordingly. If they can't meet your price exactly, then you can examine where some cost savings lie. Perhaps you don't need the high-end granite countertops, after all. Maybe you can do the painting later on your own. If you show flexibility on your end, the contractor may show some flexibility on theirs.</p> <p>Here's a look at some of the home improvement jobs that might offer opportunity for price negotiations.</p> <h2>1. Anything Big</h2> <p>The larger the job, the more ability you have to negotiate. Contractors want big jobs and know they can lead to additional work down the road, so they're not going to walk away from a project over a few dollars here and there. When my family hired someone to build an addition to our house, we saved several thousand dollars by haggling over the final cost in advance. We chatted about the cost of every aspect of the project, and were able to find savings in a variety of areas, from the windows to the carpeting and the type of deck stain. The key is to discuss the total cost beforehand and make sure everything is outlined in a contract so there are no surprises.</p> <h2>2. Jobs That Your Neighbors Are Considering</h2> <p>If you're getting a new roof installed and you know that your next-door neighbor needs a new roof as well, use that as leverage. If you can promise to give your contractor's name to your neighbor, the contractor might be willing to knock off a few dollars from your price. Some contractors even promise discounts if you give them future business through referrals.</p> <h2>3. Any Job Where You Are Getting Multiple Bids</h2> <p>If a contractor knows you're seeking bids from other contractors, he will be more inclined to be flexible on cost. This usually works for larger jobs &mdash; you're not going to get 10 bids for a clogged drain, for instance &mdash; but also be prepared to humbly come back to the contractor if the other bids aren't any lower.</p> <h2>4. Jobs That You Can Complete Yourself</h2> <p>Let's say a contractor is building you a new deck. Are you willing to paint or stain the deck yourself after it's constructed? If a plumber had to cut a hole in the ceiling to fix a pipe, can you replace the drywall later on your own? Figuring out what you can do yourself can help reduce the price of any job.</p> <h2>5. Winter Jobs</h2> <p>Many contractors will find themselves busy as bees during the spring and summer months, but twiddling their thumbs in the cold months of winter. That's because many homeowners never consider improvement projects until the weather is nice. Contractors may be more flexible on price if they aren't as busy, and you may find that they can do the work sooner for you as well.</p> <h2>6. Jobs Where You Are Not Picky</h2> <p>The more particular you are, the less negotiating flexibility you have. If you can relax on certain aspects of a project, you may save money. Perhaps you're not too concerned about getting top-of-the-line carpeting in a room that doesn't get much foot traffic. Perhaps you don't need as many electrical outlets in a family room as you first thought. Negotiating is a two-way street, so know where your flexibility lies.</p> <h2>7. Bundled Jobs</h2> <p>Last year, my family had contractors handle a number of repairs. They were unrelated jobs, but we were able to save some money by convincing the contractor to think of them as part of a single project. A contractor can save money on labor costs by working on several projects at once, and may also be able to save on bulk purchases of materials. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-money-and-hassle-by-bundling-your-home-repairs?ref=seealso">Save Time, Money, and Hassle by Bundling Your Home Repairs</a>)</p> <h2>8. Jobs That Don't Require Materials</h2> <p>Sometimes, you can get a contractor to perform extra small jobs that require nothing more than a little extra sweat on their part. For instance, if they are at your home for a major renovation, then maybe they will be willing to power wash the exterior of your house (it helps if you provide the power washer), clean out your gutters, or trim some tree branches. During a recent big project at my house, a contractor took the time to label the switches on my circuit breaker box at no extra charge. These might be jobs that take very little time, require no extra expense on their part, and can be squeezed in while workers are on a job site anyway.</p> <h2>9. The Kind You Can Pay For in Full Early</h2> <p>Contractors, like all people, love getting paid for their work. In most cases, they will not ask for full payment until a job is complete. But they may be willing to offer a discount if they can get the majority of funds early on. This requires some trust on your part, and you should withhold at least some payment until a job is complete. But if you show that you're able to pay promptly, contractors may show their appreciation with some price flexibility.</p> <p><em>Have you negotiated lower prices with contractors? Tell us how below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-home-improvements-you-should-always-negotiate">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper - Updated</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/52-uses-for-rubber-bands">52 Uses for Rubber Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-own-furniture-9-helpful-tips-for-non-carpenters">Build Your Own Furniture: 9 Helpful Tips For Non-Carpenters</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home contractors haggling home improvements negotiating Thu, 18 Jun 2015 17:00:17 +0000 Tim Lemke 1455840 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things in Your House You're Forgetting to Clean http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-in-your-house-youre-forgetting-to-clean <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-in-your-house-youre-forgetting-to-clean" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_toy_under_bed_000022705231.jpg" alt="Child forgetting to clean under the bed in his room" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a good chance you're rolling your eyes right now. You have a hard enough time keeping your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cleaning-rules-you-should-be-breaking">house clean</a> as is without me telling you that you're forgetting to clean X-Y-Z. But these easily forgettable areas can be havens for germs and gunk. But the good news is that while all of the following nine areas are easy to forget, they're also easy to clean!</p> <p>So the next time you're cleaning the house, take a few moments to wash, wipe down, or otherwise clean the following.</p> <h2>1. Under the Bed</h2> <p>Maybe it's a latent childhood fear of what lurks under our bed, but most people avoid this space of their house like the plague. Unfortunately, out-of-sight and out-of-mind doesn't mean this space is magically clean. It's a popular spot for dust and dust mites, and since you spend (hopefully) at least eight hours a day lying directly above it, this area deserves your attention. It's as simple as a good vacuum or sweep, and be sure to get the dust that collects around the bed posts.</p> <h2>2. Toothbrush Holder</h2> <p>For something that sits in our bathrooms and holds a brush that we put in our mouths at least twice a day, you'd think we'd clean toothbrush holders more. According to a 2011 study by NSF International, it's one of the germiest spots in the entire house. Keep your toothbrush holder clean with the help of antibacterial mouthwash &mdash; it's not just good for keeping your mouth clean!</p> <h2>3. Pillows</h2> <p>I don't mean to alarm you, but when was the last time you washed your pillows? If you're like many people, it's been a while, and pillows are a great hiding place for dust mites and general sleep filth. Every six months, give your pillows a good hot water wash in the washing machine and dry on low heat. Be sure to check the care instructions, and don't wash foam pillows.</p> <h2>4. Refrigerator</h2> <p>The fridge is something that often gets put on spring cleaning lists, and just moves from one to-do list to the next. It's also a job that always seems worse than it is, and is totally worth doing on a semi-regular basis. If you can keep your fridge tidy, you'll keep away gross germs, rotting food, mold, and generally make your life easier. Even a big fridge overhaul can be done in under 30 minutes, so no excuses! Just be sure to clean the coils in the back from time to time, since dusty build-up will make the appliance work harder, and drives up your energy bill.</p> <h2>5. Doorknobs</h2> <p>It makes sense when you think about it: hands are great carriers of germs, and you open doorknobs with your hands. At the same time, they are often overlooked when it's time to clean. Even though brass and copper doorknobs have natural antibacterial properties, they can still get coated with the oil from your hands, which can trap more bacteria and dirt. Give all of the knobs in your house a regular wipe-down with vinegar, and focus on the doors that get the most use, like the front, back, and bathroom doorknobs.</p> <h2>6. Light Switches</h2> <p>The same dirty hand principle applies to light switches, which are in no way anti-bacterial. They are frequently handled by clean and dirty hands alike, and are a fun place for bacteria to hang out. Every time you clean, give them a wipe with a cloth moistened with vinegar or antibacterial cleaner to keep germs from spreading.</p> <h2>7. House Plants</h2> <p>When plants grow outside, they get rained on and dusted by the wind regularly, keeping them clean. When green things live in your home and only get watered at the base, they tend to get dusty and dirty. In addition to this being unsightly and just kind of gross, it also impedes their ability to absorb sunlight and can encourage pests. Every couple of months or so, give your plants a cleaning, either with a damp sponge or with a full-blown shower. Mist them regularly to keep them perky and tidy. Before cleaning, be sure to consider what kind of plant you're dealing with so that you don't overwork or over-water.</p> <h2>8. Under Rugs</h2> <p>Even though that bit of floor is covered up with a piece of carpeting or rug, that doesn't mean that it's perfectly clean. Dirt and dust often gather at the edges, corners, and just underneath rugs. Keep your rugs and floors in good condition and keep your home clean by pulling up the rug when you clean from time to time. Don't forget to clean your rugs once or twice a year, too!</p> <h2>9. Handheld Electronics</h2> <p>We tend to use electronic devices without regard to how clean our hands are, and with touch screens things get extra grimy (and if you have kids, it's even worse). Keep your devices clean without damaging them by wiping them down with a solution of distilled water and isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol is fast evaporating, so it keeps anything important from getting wet.</p> <p><em>What things in your home do you sometimes forget to clean?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laurel-randolph">Laurel Randolph</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-in-your-house-youre-forgetting-to-clean">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mops">The 5 Best Mops</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/254-uses-for-vinegar-and-counting">254 Uses for Vinegar. And Counting.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-in-your-kitchen-that-get-rid-of-bad-smells-naturally">6 Things in Your Kitchen That Get Rid of Bad Smells Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization cleaning dusting germs household washing Mon, 15 Jun 2015 11:00:13 +0000 Laurel Randolph 1456992 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Apps for a Smarter Home http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-apps-for-a-smarter-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-apps-for-a-smarter-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/smart_home_000044457776.jpg" alt="Man using apps for a smarter home" title="" 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 apps that make your home smarter, summer items you can buy at the dollar store, and cheap date ideas that won&rsquo;t skimp on the romance.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://couponpal.com/blog/make-your-home-smarter-with-these-5-apps">Make Your Home Smarter With These 5 Apps</a> &mdash; Use the LIFX app to control LIFX light bulbs from your smartphone. [CouponPal]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/10-awesome-summer-items-you-can-find-at-the-dollar-store">10 Awesome Summer Items You Can Find at the Dollar Store</a> &mdash; You can find many summer essentials at the dollar store! Stock up on sunglasses, flip flops, and water balloons! [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/10-cheap-date-ideas/">10 Cheap Date Ideas</a> &mdash; Have a romantic dinner at home &mdash; and dress up for it! [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="https://getoutofdebt.org/88416/how-to-save-money-for-vacation-from-travel-experts">How to Save Money for Vacation From Travel Experts</a> &mdash; When booking rooms over the phone, don't use a chain's 1-800 number. Call the hotel directly; they'll have more room to negotiate. [Get Out of Debt Guy]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Get-Organized-36367042">17 Goals For a More Organized Life</a> &mdash; Organize your closet in three simple steps. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/0526/Your-car-stroller-or-ice-cream-gets-recalled.-What-do-you-do-next">Your car, stroller, or ice cream gets recalled. What do you do next?</a> &mdash; Hang on to packaging, manuals, and labels so you can easily check whether a product you own has been recalled. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T050-C000-S001-3-things-that-cost-women-more.html">3 Things That Cost Women More</a> &mdash; On average, women are expected to outlive men by about 5 years, which means that most women will need to save more for retirement. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thousandaire.com/when-it-comes-to-managing-cash-do-what-works/">When it comes to managing cash, do what works</a> &mdash; If seeing your savings jar fill up with $5 bills makes you excited about cash management, then keep it up! [Thousandaire]</p> <p><a href="http://www.listenmoneymatters.com/how-to-invest-100-1000-10000/">How To Invest $100, $1000, $10,000</a> &mdash; $100 is enough to open an investing account with Betterment. [Listen Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.readyforzero.com/lost-control-money-break-up-mistakes/">I Lost Control of Money During a Break Up, Don&rsquo;t Make The Same Mistakes I Did</a> &mdash; Trying to fill an emotional void by spending money will only put you in debt. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to develop new skills and meet new people. [ReadyForZero]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-apps-for-a-smarter-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-modern-life-skills-everyone-should-master">15 Modern Life Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-ways-your-smartphone-can-keep-you-and-your-family-safe">6 Surprising Ways Your Smartphone Can Keep You and Your Family Safe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-a-robot-called-digit-really-help-you-save-more">Can a Robot Called Digit Really Help You Save More?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-lost-keys-fast-with-a-teeny-tiny-tile">Find Lost Keys Fast With a Teeny Tiny Tile</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-buy-a-desktop-computer">Why You Should Buy a Desktop Computer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Technology apps best money tips smart home Wed, 27 May 2015 19:00:11 +0000 Amy Lu 1437118 at http://www.wisebread.com Cheap Home Furnishing Ideas http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-home-furnishings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cheap-home-furnishings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/flowers_000024129743.jpg" alt="Flowers in a vase" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The point of home decorating is to create a space that you can enjoy, so how much more would you enjoy a room if you saved big bucks while making a home out of your house? Find out for yourself by learning how to decorate on a budget and get the most out of your space and furniture. Get inspiration from four do-it-yourself projects that will help make your home uniquely yours.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stretch-out-a-small-space"><strong>Stretch Out a Small Space</strong></a><br /> You&rsquo;ve finally found the space of your dreams, only it&rsquo;s not as spacious as it ought to be. Have no fear. There are tried and true design tips that work, regardless of the size of your room or apartment.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-ways-to-display-your-art"><strong>How to Cheaply Display Your Art</strong></a><br /> There are so many places nowadays to find good, cheap art, but framing said art can be one of the most expensive aspects of decorating your home. Well, there are plenty of ways to display your art that are still funky, fun, and cheap.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/furnished-for-free"><strong>Furnished For Free</strong></a><br /> Find out how to furnish an entire apartment at no real cost to you, aside from a little bit of time and gas.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-home-decorating-ideas-for-under-5">15 Home Decorating Ideas for Under $5</a></strong><br /> You don't have to break your budget keeping your home fun and stylish.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/decorating-a-living-room-for-you-and-your-money"><strong>Decorating a Living Room for You and Your Money</strong></a><br /> You don't need a professional designer or a steep budget to help you feel good about your living room.&nbsp; Here's how you can create a room you can really live in -- without gutting your wallet.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-bed-for-cheap-and-look-good-doing-it "><strong>Build a Bed for Cheap (and Look Good Doing It)</strong></a><br /> Sure, it's easier to buy the various components of a brand new bed from the store of your choice, but with a little creativity and smart investments in the parts that really matter, you can build a bed that feels good, looks great, and costs much, much less!&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space"><strong>Small Space Survival Strategies</strong></a><br /> Living in a small space doesn't have to mean a cramped lifestyle! Here are 20 suggestions to open up a crowded room.&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-home-furnishings">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keeping-santa-sane-budget-holiday-decorating">Keeping Santa Sane: Budget Holiday Decorating</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-stuff-at-homegoods">How to Find the Best Stuff at HomeGoods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-and-ingenious-ways-to-upgrade-your-furniture">15 Cheap and Ingenious Ways to Upgrade Your Furniture</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-or-cheap-wall-art">Free or Cheap Wall Art</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-awesome-decorating-hacks-anyone-can-do">30 Awesome Decorating Hacks Anyone Can Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home decorating home decor Thu, 21 May 2015 05:00:56 +0000 Amy Lu 1431587 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Knife Sharpeners http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-knife-sharpeners <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-knife-sharpeners" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_kitchen_cutting_veggies_000013553523.jpg" alt="Woman using knife and knife sharpener to cut fresh veggies" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cooking at home is a rewarding experience that can save you money and open you up to new food possibilities. In order to ensure that your most valuable kitchen tools (your knives) are ready for the job at hand, it is important to invest in a quality knife sharpener. This will help ensure that your knives can continue performing like they did the day you purchased them.</p> <p>With so many options available for manual and electric knife sharpeners, it can be difficult to choose the perfect one. In order to find the right knife sharpener, you will need to find the right brand, type, and size to fit your needs. We&rsquo;ve put together a list of the top five knife sharpeners to help you choose the right one for your kitchen.</p> <h2>What Is a Knife Sharpener?</h2> <p>A knife sharpener is a small kitchen tool that can help keep your kitchen knives and shears sharp and ready to go. A sharper knife is a safer knife, so having a sharpener on hand at all times can help protect your knife and ensure that you can use it safely and confidently. You spent a lot on your kitchen knives, so it&rsquo;s important to keep them in their best condition to get the most from your investment. After just a few quick pulls through a knife sharpener, your knives can be sharp enough to look and perform like new again.</p> <h2>Top 5 Knife Sharpeners</h2> <h3>AccuSharp 001 Knife Sharpener</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004VWKQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00004VWKQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=NDXJFPX4ABDYD72M"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/51ZOWqG-w%2BL.jpg" width="250" height="174" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004VWKQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00004VWKQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=NDXJFPX4ABDYD72M">AccuSharp</a> is a small, easy to use handheld knife sharpener and has made a name for itself with home cooks and professional chefs alike. Having been awarded the best manual knife and tool sharpener by Consumer Search and receiving top marks by Cooking.com and various cooking magazines, this handheld sharpener is ideal for both right-handed and left-handed cooks. The simple manual sharpener will work with your straight and serrated knives, as well as your sporting knives and kitchen shears.</p> <p>To use this unconventional sharpener, you place your knife, blade up, on a counter and run the sharpener down the length of the blade. AccuSharp sharpening blades are made of diamond-honed tungsten carbide for the toughest, longest-lasting construction possible. AccuSharp&rsquo;s V-shaped groove will guide the knife&rsquo;s blade at the proper angle for fast, effective sharpening. It produces a sharp edge, nearly the same as you would get with a professional electric sharpener. Cleanup and storage is also a breeze.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004VWKQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00004VWKQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=NDXJFPX4ABDYD72M">Currently $8.85 on Amazon</a></em></p> <h3>Chef's Choice 120 Diamond Hone 3-Stage Professional Knife Sharpener</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00075M29A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00075M29A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=O6CNER7DYPW6O3HZ"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/717JuwdmfkS.jpg" width="250" height="151" align="right" alt="" /></a>Awarded the best electric knife sharpener by Consumer Search and various online review sites, the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00075M29A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00075M29A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=O6CNER7DYPW6O3HZ">Chef's Choice 120 Diamond Hone 3-stage sharpener</a> was also showcased in &ldquo;Cook&rsquo;s Illustrated&rdquo; magazine. The Washington Post also said that it gave them the sharpest blades possible, no matter what type of knife was being sharpened. The professional knife sharpener comes in red, black, or white to best suit your kitchen. It will sharpen almost any blade using a special three stage sharpening system, including conical 100% diamond coated disks in Stages 1 and 2 and a revolutionary stropping/polishing disk in Stage 3.</p> <p>The heavy-duty sharpener is equipped with one coarse sharpening slot, one fine sharpening slot, and one polishing slot, so your sporting, straight, and serrated knives will look like new again. The built-in guides also make sharpening your knives even easier. You can also take comfort in the three year limited warranty.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00075M29A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00075M29A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=O6CNER7DYPW6O3HZ">Currently $149.95 on Amazon</a></em></p> <h3>Smith's PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000O8OTNC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000O8OTNC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=O23HYMH2CVLNPWFV"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/71pteuMgtHL.jpg" width="250" height="163" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000O8OTNC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000O8OTNC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=O23HYMH2CVLNPWFV">Smith's PP1 Pocket Pal</a> is a multifunction sharpener and the #1 bestseller in sharpening stones on Amazon with overwhelmingly positive customer reviews. The affordable tool can sharpen both serrated and standard edges, as well as hunting knives and pocket knives. The compact, lightweight sharpener includes a lanyard hole for easy carrying, a tapered diamond rod, and preset carbides to sharpen your knives quickly. The sharpener is so small that it makes the perfect addition to your kitchen or camping gear.</p> <p>The multifunction tool includes a foldout tapered round diamond-coated rod, ideal for sharpening serrated blades or small knives. Once your knife has been sharpened, you can set the edge with the carbide blades and finish the edge with the ceramic stones, which can provide a polished edge on any dull or damaged knives.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000O8OTNC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000O8OTNC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=O23HYMH2CVLNPWFV">Currently $9.11 on Amazon</a></em></p> <h3>KitchenIQ 50009 Edge Grip 2 Stage Knife Sharpener</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CQTLJM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001CQTLJM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=MRJ2XASSRNF5MSR7"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/61MK%2Bjk5UwL.jpg" width="250" height="161" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CQTLJM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001CQTLJM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=MRJ2XASSRNF5MSR7">KitchenIQ 50009 Edge Grip</a> is an affordable stainless steel sharpener that offers a soft grip handle and a V-grip bottom, so that you can easily use it on an edge or counter. This ensures the proper sharpening angle for all of your straight edge knives. It is Amazon&rsquo;s #1 bestseller in specialty kitchen appliances and offers big results with a small price tag. This easy to use sharpener offers two stages of sharpening to bring life back into any dull straight edge knives. With such a low price tag, you can&rsquo;t afford not to have this in your kitchen.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CQTLJM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001CQTLJM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=MRJ2XASSRNF5MSR7">Currently $5.99 on Amazon</a></em></p> <h3>Presto 08800 EverSharp Electric Knife Sharpener</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006IUWM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00006IUWM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=RCHKVVTK2BRHNMGP"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/71XrN57flUL._SL1256_.jpg" width="250" height="153" align="right" alt="" /></a>As the #1 bestseller in Amazon&rsquo;s electric knife sharpeners, the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006IUWM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00006IUWM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=RCHKVVTK2BRHNMGP">Presto 08800 EverSharp</a> offers a two-stage sharpening system to quickly, effortlessly sharpen any straight edge blades. You can create professional results at home using the Sapphirite sharpening wheels, which are the same materials used by professional shops. The sharpener&rsquo;s precision blades will help guide the knife at the ideal sharpening angle for the best results possible. It is also covered by a one-year limited warranty against defects.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006IUWM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00006IUWM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=RCHKVVTK2BRHNMGP">Currently $29.00 on Amazon</a></em></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best manual and electric knife sharpeners. As always, be sure to check <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">Wise Bread's Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-knife-sharpeners">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-electric-woks">The 5 Best Electric Woks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mops">The 5 Best Mops</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-laundry-detergents">The 5 Best Laundry Detergents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/254-uses-for-vinegar-and-counting">254 Uses for Vinegar. And Counting.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Home f knife sharpeners knives product reviews Tue, 19 May 2015 09:00:06 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1394135 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Easy Home Maintenance To-Dos for Spring http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_home_improvements_000018550842.jpg" alt="Family doing easy jobs on spring home maintenance checklist" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ah, spring. The weather is warm again. You're outside enjoying life. And there's a heck of a lot of stuff that needs to get done. This season is one of the best to check many of those pesky <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-for-spring-cleaning-on-a-budget">home maintenance chores</a> off your to-do list. So read through our suggestions to see if you're forgetting any of the basics.</p> <h2>1. Cool AC Units</h2> <p>Now's the time to get your AC unit in order before the hot weather hits. Change any filters that might be dirty. Examine all lines running into your unit for leaks and kinks. If you suspect anything might be wrong with your machine, call in a professional. They'll check for levels of refrigerant, duct leakage, airflow, belt wear, and more. A little money now will prevent you from uncomfortable nights later.</p> <h2>2. Secure Roof Shingles</h2> <p>I've noticed we have a few shingles loose on our roof after the brutal winter. I spotted them from down the street as I walked toward our house. If you don't have a clear vantage point, try hopping up on a ladder. A sound roof will protect your home from leaks and other more costly issues. Our roof is quite high, so we'll be hiring a handyman. <a href="http://home.costhelper.com/roof-repair.html">Roof repair costs</a> can range between $95 to $127 to fix a few shingles, to upwards of $350 to repair larger sections.</p> <h2>3. Stop Persistent Pests</h2> <p>While you're at it, walk around your property and look for evidence of pests and infestations. There are a number of critters that can wreck havoc, including carpenter bees, termites, ants, wasps, and more. You can buy sprays and other eradicators at home improvement stores, but bigger infestations are best left to the professionals. Call around to get a couple free quotes from local companies. I have found them to be considerably cheaper than the nationwide chains.</p> <h2>4. Scrub Moldy Siding</h2> <p>Improve your curb appeal! If your vinyl siding is looking dingy and dirty, try using a power washer for a weekend to clean it up. You can <a href="http://home.costhelper.com/pressure-washing.html">rent a power washer</a> for around $40 to $75 per day. Professionals could cost you $750 or more, depending on the size of your home. A friend of mine hand-washes his house using a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water, a scrub brush, and a lot of elbow grease. Whatever way you choose to do it, you'll be cleaning off lots of nasty mold and mildew stains.</p> <h2>5. Redo Damaged Decks</h2> <p>How's your deck doing these days? Chances are you might need to reseal it or even stain for the first time. Before you start, clean your deck using a specially formulated cleanser or solution of vinegar and water. The jury is out on whether power washing is the best method, so we scrub ours by hand. After letting your deck dry for at least a day, apply a single coat of stain of your choosing. If your deck is in poor order, check to make sure it's still structurally sound and consider applying a product like <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/b/Paint-Deck-Patio-Restoration/BEHR-Premium-DeckOver/N-5yc1vZc7gvZc4x">BEHR DeckOver</a> or <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/b/Paint-Deck-Patio-Restoration/BEHR-Premium-DeckOver/N-5yc1vZc7gvZc4x">Rust-Oleum Restore</a>. These paints come in a variety of shades and can give even the most splintery old decks a new lease on life.</p> <h2>6. Close Caulk Gaps</h2> <p>Many of us focus on caulking windows before the cold weather hits, but spring and summer can present just as many challenges. Those of you who live in particularly hot climates could be losing tons of money (and efficiency) through the loss of your cool AC right out the window. Walk around your home &mdash; inside and out &mdash; taking note of any drafts or areas where you can see gaps. Concentrate your efforts particularly around door and window frames, air conditioners, where brick and wood siding meet, etc.</p> <h2>7. Clean Gutter Clogs</h2> <p>Surprisingly enough, your gutters might fill up with more debris <em>after </em>winter than they did in the fall. You'll want to examine the flow from gutters to downspouts during a rainstorm or check for any other damage (pulling away from the home, sagging, etc.). Cleaning is as easy as hopping on a ladder and scooping out the blockages using your hands or a wet/dry vacuum. You can even flush your gutters using your garden hose. As always, if your project seems too big or dangerous (ladders), you can get a professional to <a href="http://home.costhelper.com/gutter-cleaning.html">clean your gutters</a> for around $90 to $225 for a 2,000 square foot home.</p> <h2>8. Cover Driveway Cracks</h2> <p>Direct your attention to your walkways and driveway. Are there any areas that are cracked or even missing? If the damaged sidewalk is part of your city's responsibility, try requesting repairs through your local municipality. Otherwise, patch sidewalks by clearing the area of loose debris and spreading a layer of cement. It's a good temporary fix that should last several seasons before a total redo is necessary. You can refresh your driveway by filling cracks and then spreading driveway sealer to cover. Let dry for 24 to 48 hours before opening to your vehicles.</p> <p><em>What's on your home maintenance to-do list this spring?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-safest-cities-in-america-from-natural-disasters">10 Safest Cities in America from Natural Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-quick-clothing-and-shoe-repair-fixes-you-should-own">15 Quick Clothing and Shoe Repair Fixes You Should Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ruin-an-antique-how-to-tell-if-you-should-refinish-wooden-furniture">Don&#039;t Ruin an Antique! How to Tell If You Should Refinish Wooden Furniture</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-weird-and-wonderful-ways-to-use-vinegar">10 Weird and Wonderful Ways to Use Vinegar</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-change-the-bulb-just-remove-the-bumper-wait-what">To change the bulb, just remove the bumper. Wait, what? - UPDATED.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Home maintenance repairs roofing spring cleaning Mon, 18 May 2015 15:00:08 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1421643 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 DIY Backyard Home Improvements That Save You Big http://www.wisebread.com/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_diy_home_improvements_000051008898.jpg" alt="Man saving big with DIY home improvements" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every year, I draft a grand to-do list for backyard projects. And &mdash; every year &mdash; I barely cross even a few items off this list. Usually my goals are too lofty. Or maybe some of them are frankly too expensive. Whatever the case, I've found the solution. These easy (and cheap) DIY projects are novice-friendly and will transform your outdoor spaces from blah to beautiful. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try?ref=seealso">17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing</a>)</p> <h2>1. Pallet Deck</h2> <p>Here's yet another awesome use for wood pallets &mdash; <a href="http://hoosierhomemade.com/how-to-build-a-wood-pallet-deck/">make a deck</a>! Pick up however many pallets you want for the size of your deck. Then clean them up, sand them down, and paint for a durable finish. Clear the area you want to stage by removing the grass, weeds, and debris. Lay concrete blocks in the soil &mdash; four feet apart &mdash; before setting your pallets on top. Grab your chairs, decorate, and enjoy!</p> <h2>2. Paver Patio</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/patio/installation-how-to/diy-paver-patio/">paver patio</a> project takes a bit more patience, but it will pay off. You'll first clear the area and tamp the soil so it's firm and level. Lay landscape fabric, crushed stones, and sand over the area to prevent weeds from peeking through the stones. Then it's time to lay the pavers. You can rent a brick cutter or just lay whole bricks and stones. Whatever you do, position pavers no more than ⅛ inch apart. Total cost? $550 with all supplies.</p> <h2>3. Garden Fountain</h2> <p>There's nothing better than listening to the sound of running water outdoors. Try making this <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Garden-Fountain-Out-of-Well-Anythi/">DIY garden fountain</a> out of, well, anything. The schematic might look a little intimidating, but it's basically a basin for your water with a pump and decorative &quot;sculpture&quot; that the water flows through. You can find a pump at most garden stores, just make sure you get one that's labeled &quot;submersible.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Raised Beds</h2> <p>Create a garden out of nothing with this <a href="http://www.chrislovesjulia.com/2013/05/our-diy-raised-garden-beds.html">raised garden bed</a> project. This couple built a whopping <em>five </em>cedar beds for around $100. You'll make all your cuts before assembling the boxes using galvanized screws. The mitered frame is completely optional, but it definitely gives the beds that finished touch. Then excavate the ground, fill with dirt, and get planting.</p> <h2>5. Fire Pit</h2> <p>My husband and I want to build a <a href="http://www.bowerpowerblog.com/2013/04/its-the-pits/">fire pit</a> in our backyard. First, you'll want to check with your local government to make sure open flame fires are permitted in your neighborhood. From there, you need a metal ring, retaining wall blocks, drainage gravel, decorative rocks, and outdoor construction adhesive. After choosing your pit's location, you'll dig out the area and tamp the dirt. Lay your gravel around the metal ring. Then surround with the blocks, which you'll fasten together with the adhesive.</p> <h2>6. Stepping Stones</h2> <p>Get this! You can make these cute <a href="http://www.intimateweddings.com/blog/how-to-make-stepping-stones-with-a-cake-pan/">stepping stones</a> in a cake pan. No, really. You'll first want to gather some decorative mosaic glass or even smashed china for flair. Cut out a piece of contact paper, and arrange your glass in a pattern inside the pan. Slap on some gloves, mix together concrete, and cut out some metal mesh to give your stone stability. Scoop in a layer of concrete, lay the mesh, and finish with more concrete. Let sit for two days before removing.</p> <h2>7. Compost Bin</h2> <p>Many store-bought compost bins cost a pretty penny. This <a href="http://savvysavingcouple.net/2013/01/21/diy-how-to-make-your-own-compost-bin-for-under-5/">DIY compost bin</a> is well within most anyone's budget at just $5. Heck, you may even have the materials you need sitting in your garage. Take an 18 gallon plastic bin (with top) and drill 5/16 inch holes about two inches apart in all directions. Then add kitchen scraps, leaves, paper, and a scoop of soil to get started. You should have rich compost in around five weeks.</p> <h2>8. Privacy Screens</h2> <p>Our neighbors' yard (and all their stuff) is right next to our deck. So, we'd love to build a few of these quick <a href="http://www.hometalk.com/2087206/how-to-make-an-easy-patio-privacy-screen-step-by-step-tutorial">privacy screens</a> to give us all some space. The tutorial is so easy, I may even try constructing it completely on my own. And at just $30, I figure it's worth a try. You'll take standard wooden lattice panels and build frames for them. Then screw in some hooks to hang. It's as simple as that. I might paint mine for some extra oomph.</p> <p><em>What's on your backyard to-do list this year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper - Updated</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money">9 DIY Landscaping and Gardening Skills That Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-not-do-to-your-yard-this-fall">10 Things You Should NOT Do to Your Yard This Fall</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way">10 Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home backyard decks gardening landscaping outdoors patios Wed, 13 May 2015 13:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1415531 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Generic Home Goods Buys Better Than the Expensive Originals http://www.wisebread.com/7-generic-home-goods-buys-better-than-the-expensive-originals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-generic-home-goods-buys-better-than-the-expensive-originals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_baby_bed_000037304158.jpg" alt="Mother and baby buying generic home goods" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Keeping your home tidy, beautiful, and healthy doesn't have to cost a fortune. Here are seven examples of cheap <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-home-buys-you-should-never-skimp-on">home goods</a> that are better than their original brand name competitors.</p> <h2>1. Cleaning Products</h2> <p>Check out the cleaning products aisle at your local store, and you'll find a long list of chemicals you can't pronounce. Many of them are harmful to you, your family, and your home. Luckily there's a better, healthier, and safer way to clean your home with items from your grocery store. There's not much that white vinegar, essential oils, and baking soda can't fix when it comes to cleaning your home. Clean your shower with a mix of one of cup water and &frac14; cup of white vinegar. Clean your carpets with one cup of club soda or seltzer mixed with &frac12; cup of table salt. Make your mirrors and windows sparkle with a combination of two cups of water, two tablespoons of white vinegar, two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, and five drops of peppermint essential oil.</p> <h2>2. Bedding and Linens</h2> <p>I recently moved into a new apartment and needed to restock my linens and bedding. I was pleasantly surprised when I went to Target and discovered their Room Essentials line. Their linens are already heavily discounted and the same quality as pricier brands, and they are often discounted further during sales. They had a wide variety of colors and designs, so it was easy for me to mix and match to get the look I wanted.</p> <h2>3. Water Filter Pitchers</h2> <p>With spring, many cities do heavy treatments on their drinking water. As a result, it's a good idea to filter your water before drinking and cooking. While Brita is the original brand that made home filtered water a new trend, Target carries a line that is half the price and even better. I picked up a pitcher and set of filters recently that the chain store sells through its up &amp; up brand. up &amp; up also includes generic tin foil, plastic wrap, and plastic resealable bags that are exactly the same quality as the name brands.</p> <h2>4. Air Fresheners</h2> <p>This is an area of your store that you need to avoid. Those lovely smelling sprays are loaded with chemicals that may smell wonderful, but could actually make you and your pets sick. They're also expensive and don't last long. It's much better to sweeten the air in your home naturally. In a small, shallow dish that's out of the reach of pets and children, mix baking soda and any essential oil scent that you love. It's cheaper, healthier, and lasts longer.</p> <h2>5. Energy Efficient Light Bulbs</h2> <p>When it comes to light bulbs, you want to look for the average life of the bulbs that is listed on the box. The name brand doesn't matter. Match up the wattage and light quality you want and ignore the logo.</p> <h2>6. Manual Kitchen Gadgets</h2> <p>For items such a coffee and tea presses, garlic presses, teaspoons, mixing bowls, mixing spoons, spatulas, and measuring cups, don't spend a fortune. Plenty of stores have generic versions that are every bit as good, if not better, as the name brand options. If you're really tied to those name brands, check discounters such as HomeGoods, T.J. Maxx, and Marshalls that have name brands or close proximities that are often 50% off the regular retail prices.</p> <h2>7. Stuff on Overstock and Amazon</h2> <p>If you are in need of some new furnishings for the home, I highly recommend looking at sites such as Overstock and Amazon from the comfort of your couch rather than or before heading out to the stores. Having these heavy items delivered to your door at a fraction of the retail cost is well worth it. They're also great comparison shopping sites so that you know if a sale at a brick and mortar store is truly a bargain.</p> <p>Spring brings a desire to clean up and makeover your home with bright colors and fresh designs. With the tips above you can redecorate, restock, and clean your home at an affordable price without sacrificing quality.</p> <p><em>What are your goto generic or store brands for home goods?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-generic-home-goods-buys-better-than-the-expensive-originals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-stuff-at-homegoods">How to Find the Best Stuff at HomeGoods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-laundry-detergents">The 5 Best Laundry Detergents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-ways-to-get-these-8-expensive-indulgences">Cheap Ways to Get These 8 Expensive Indulgences</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-find-cheap-good-looking-new-furniture">10 Places to Find Cheap, Good-Looking New Furniture</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-should-never-try-to-save-on">5 Things You Should Never Try to Save On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Shopping cheap generic HomeGoods off brand Wed, 13 May 2015 11:00:09 +0000 Christa Avampato 1415529 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Home Buys You Should Never Skimp On http://www.wisebread.com/8-home-buys-you-should-never-skimp-on <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-home-buys-you-should-never-skimp-on" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_with_iron_000018734916.jpg" alt="Woman with home good she didn&#039;t skimp on" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are some everyday items I personally <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-you-should-never-skimp-on">never skimp on</a>, like toilet paper, kitchen knives, bed sheets, and small appliances. But what about larger items for the home? These are often even more important, as the difference between the cheap stuff and pricier counterparts can have a profound impact on your quality of life and even your safety. Take a look.</p> <h2>1. Exterior Door Locks</h2> <p>Be honest &mdash; when you read the title of this post, did you immediately think of door locks? Probably not, and neither did I. It wasn't until veteran handyman Marcus L. Horner mentioned exterior locks that I gave them a second thought. Ironic, because a strong door lock is perhaps the most important thing you should never skimp on.</p> <p>&quot;Among the most important things in a home are the front and back doors. You should never skimp on these two items,&quot; Horner says. &quot;You would not believe how many people I see almost on a daily basis who replace doors with the cheapest they can find &mdash; and this is after they have already been broken into!&quot;</p> <p>This is your family's safety and sense of security we're dealing with here, people!</p> <h2>2. Mattresses</h2> <p>I don't think you need the King Midas of mattresses to enjoy a restful, comfortable night's sleep. In fact, the comfort factor of mattresses is really quite relative, depending on each person's preference (I can speak from experience that IKEA and West Elm sell decent mattresses, with the former being very affordable and the latter being perfectly midrange). It goes without saying, however, that the higher in price you go, the plusher and more luxurious the mattress will be. Above all, make sure it comes brand new from a reputable dealer and manufacturer. Because <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-that-youre-sleep-deprived">sleep deprivation</a> is a serious thing.</p> <h2>3. Major Appliances</h2> <p>You'll really have to search hard for off-brand appliances; even the low-priced options come from well-known brand names. But don't let that fool you in this case. Unlike other items, I stand by my position that the price of electronic items directly correlates to their quality with a few exceptions (I'm looking at you, Beats headphones), so it's worth spending the extra money. Besides, this is a long-term investment &mdash; many appliances last 10 years or more before needing to be repaired or replaced &mdash; so if it helps, think about the cost versus the lifetime of the product to soften the financial blow.</p> <p>Financing is usually available as well to reduce the immediate burden. If that doesn't help, think of it this way: Do you really want to keep dragging refrigerators and washing machines in and out of the house every few years because you wanted to save a few bucks? I didn't think so.</p> <h2>4. Fire Extinguishers</h2> <p>Unless you have children, you probably don't spend too much time thinking of worst-case scenarios. But a house fire is definitely a Code WTF emergency, and it's important to be as prepared as possible. One of the components in your disaster preparedness kit should be a fire extinguisher. There are several options from which to choose, according to Consumer Reports, which asks the question: &quot;When the kitchen's on fire, do you want a $7 aerosol can or a real extinguisher?&quot; Spring for the tried-and-true traditional red bottles, which cost about $25 more.</p> <h2>5. Blu-ray Players</h2> <p>Consumer Reports also weighs in on cheap DVD players, particularly Blu-ray players for less than $20. Common sense should warn you that a Blu-ray that cheap is probably too good to be true, with CR warning that you should expect to have to replace it every year. Heck, even pricier Blu-ray players don't last terribly long. I have a Samsung Blu-ray player that's about four years old that will only play standard DVDs now, and it's annoying as all get out.</p> <h2>6. Vacuum Cleaners</h2> <p>According to Consumer Reports magazine's Shop Smart section, a &quot;$50 vacuum cleans like a $50 vacuum.&quot; Considering that well-reviewed vacuums like Dyson and Kirby run in the $400 to $800, you can deduce then that your $50 won't get you much. Personally I have a Shark vacuum that I purchased at Bed Bath &amp; Beyond in the $120 range that works perfectly well for me. I also have a relatively small home. Your home may require a heavier-duty vacuum, and in that case you may want to start looking in the higher-end section. Kind of like buying a new car, actually.</p> <h2>7. Computers</h2> <p>I'm an Apple guy. It's not cheap, but these products of superior quality are well worth the money I shell out &mdash; especially my laptop.</p> <p>Before I switched to Mac, I worked from PCs and Windows laptops. I was just out of college with minimal disposable income, so I jumped at the chance to buy a laptop for $200 from Circuit City. Of course it worked well straight out of the box, but just a few months in the speed slowed down, I had to wait a good couple minutes for everything to boot up and get started, and it was prone to viruses. This scenario is rather common with PCs, and the cheaper you go the more often you'll have to replace it. There's actually a name for this retail practice &mdash; it's called intentional obsolescence, which means that the product is designed to have a limited lifespan, forcing you to replace it sooner than you would a quality product. That's not to say that you should switch to Apple, but my Macs last many years longer than any PC I've ever owned.</p> <h2>8. Irons</h2> <p>There are $20 irons on the market, and there are $90 irons on the market. While I don't think you need a professional-grade iron, I do recommend irons in the $40 to $60 range to ensure that you're getting a quality product.</p> <p>The one problem I seem to consistently find with cheaper irons is that they don't get hot enough to steam out wrinkles efficiently, and often hot water drips out of the iron itself causing a mess on your clothes and ironing board. I've been burned quite badly from faulty irons, actually. Save yourself the blisters and spend a bit more on a decent iron that will do the job it's supposed to do.</p> <p><em>Do you have things to add that we should never skimp on in the home? I'd love to hear your suggestions. Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-home-buys-you-should-never-skimp-on">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-your-dishwasher">How to Clean Your Dishwasher</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-something-breaks-should-you-repair-or-replace">When Something Breaks, Should You Repair or Replace?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-warranties-that-arent-worth-it">4 Warranties That Aren&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-spend-black-friday-at-home">6 Ways to Spend Black Friday at Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-youre-paying-too-much-for-around-the-house-and-how-to-pay-less">9 Things You&#039;re Paying Too Much for Around the House (And How to Pay Less)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Shopping appliances cleaning electronics home goods Mon, 11 May 2015 13:00:22 +0000 Mikey Rox 1415532 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Laundry Detergents http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-laundry-detergents <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-laundry-detergents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mom_baby_laundry_000050679488.jpg" alt="Mom and baby doing laundry" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Finding the right laundry detergent requires a combination of choosing what works best on your clothes, with what your personal preferences are. If you have a high efficiency washer, then using a traditional detergent can cause excess suds. Instead, the Soap and Detergent Association recommends that you look for an HE detergent that is designed for your washer.</p> <h2>What is Laundry Detergent?</h2> <p>Laundry detergent can remove dirt, stains, and other marks from your clothing. It can also make your laundry refreshed, brighter, smelling great, and looking like new. There are a range of detergent types available, such as liquid, powdered, and detergent pack forms. There are also a range of detergent scents and options to choose from, so you can easily find one that best suits your household or business. We&rsquo;ve covered some of the most effective detergents to help you choose the right one to efficiently clean your dirty laundry in no time.</p> <h2>Top 5 Laundry Detergents</h2> <h3>Tide Pods Laundry Detergent</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004YHKVCM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B004YHKVCM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=2RZMAXXYZL7CIKFL"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/tide%20pods.jpg" width="237" height="250" align="right" alt="" />Tide Pods</a> are a favorite brand amongst picky consumers and national review sites, including Consumer Reports. As Amazon&rsquo;s #1 best seller in powder laundry detergent, these no-mess Tide Pods are neat and clean, lightweight, and easy to store. They are very easy to use, just toss one in the laundry and you&rsquo;re done. They also don&rsquo;t cost much more than comparable laundry detergent. These 3-in-1 pods are also a Good Housekeeping choice for one of the best laundry detergents due to their superior cleaning power.</p> <p>Along with containing detergent suitable for colors and whites, each pod also contains a stain remover and brightener to reveal your cleanest, brightest clothes. They can be used with regular or high efficiency washers, in any water temperature. They are also available in an array of fresh, clean scents to suit your personal preferences. If you are used to traveling to a nearby laundromat, then these are ideal. They are much lighter, easier to transport, and easier to use than traditional, heavy detergents.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004YHKVCM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B004YHKVCM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=2RZMAXXYZL7CIKFL"><em>Currently $18.98 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Tide Original Scent High Efficiency Liquid Laundry Detergent</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LN23HHM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00LN23HHM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=LURILWCHR7QCMWPK"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/tide%20original.jpg" width="153" height="250" align="right" alt="" />Tide Original High Efficiency</a> is consistently a favorite brand on Consumer Reports and is one of the most popular options amongst consumers. As Amazon&rsquo;s #1 best seller in liquid laundry detergent, this high efficiency liquid detergent is phosphate-free and made of biodegradable soaps. It contains more cleaning ingredients and less water, resulting in a low-sudsing formula. The updated formula has more active ingredients than before, so you can use less in each load, saving you money over time.</p> <p>Only one small cap of detergent is needed for each load, so you get the same number of loads in a smaller bottle. The original scent is fresh and clean, but there are a variety of scents to choose from, to best suit your personal preferences.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LN23HHM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00LN23HHM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=LURILWCHR7QCMWPK"><em>Currently $11.97 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Wisk Deep Clean</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ZYGYLM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B003ZYGYLM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=3DICP5BAMSXLOOLW"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/wisk.jpg" width="161" height="250" align="right" alt="" />Wisk Deep Clean</a> is an affordable option that can stand up to some of the most popular, expensive brands out there. In an independent study by ABC News, Wisk Deep Clean was rated highest among conventional brands and high-efficiency brands. Wisk is also a Consumer Reports&rsquo; choice for the best laundry detergents and has been a beloved brand for years thanks to its stain-fighting abilities.</p> <p>Along with outstanding customer reviews, professionals also find it best for work uniforms as it offers a deep clean and can reveal the cleanest, brightest, whitest laundry, compared to other detergents. It can handle even the toughest stains, like grass, blood, tea, and chocolate stains. The liquid detergent cleans very well (even in cold water) and can brighten clothes more with FBA (fluorescent brightening agents). It is available in a variety of clean scents, as well as a free &amp; pure option. With options for HE and standard washers, you can use this with any washing machine. It is also easy to use with legible directions and visible markings in the cap.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ZYGYLM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B003ZYGYLM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=3DICP5BAMSXLOOLW"><em>Currently $7.00 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Tide Plus Coldwater High Efficiency Liquid Laundry Detergent</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LN23BL4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00LN23BL4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=5XEYIVP24POZMVN6"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/tide%20coldwater.jpg" width="151" height="250" align="right" alt="" />Tide Plus Coldwater</a> is a favorite brand amongst households and national review sites alike. As a Good Housekeeping choice for one of the best laundry detergents, this Tide for cold water proved to remove more tough stains in cold water than other detergents were able to accomplish in hot water. Even grass, chocolate, and blood stains are no match for this cold water detergent. By using cold water on your laundry, you can expect to save about 50% on your monthly energy bill. This detergent works efficiently, has a craveworthy fresh scent and superior color protection, offers a more effective solution for your delicate fabrics, and can save you money on your monthly water-heating bill.</p> <p>This is a Consumer Reports&rsquo; choice for the best laundry detergents and with overwhelmingly positive reviews, it&rsquo;s a popular option for homes with high efficiency washers.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LN23BL4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00LN23BL4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=5XEYIVP24POZMVN6"><em>Currently $11.97 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Arm &amp; Hammer Liquid Laundry Detergent</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IO2YFHK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00IO2YFHK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=7CCMS4WGZD4B5HGD"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/arm%20%26%20hammer.jpg" width="256" height="250" align="right" alt="" /></a>As Amazon&rsquo;s #1 best seller in commercial laundry detergent, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IO2YFHK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00IO2YFHK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=7CCMS4WGZD4B5HGD">Arm &amp; Hammer</a> detergent can clean away even the toughest stains. It is ideal for all machines, including high efficiency washers, and can be used in all water temperatures, on all laundry, even dark loads. It is designed to power out dirt and odors and will leave your clothes clean, fresh, free of stains, and smelling great. It contains the power of Arm &amp; Hammer, as well as special agents to trap soil in the wash water.</p> <p>One affordable bottle is enough for 140 loads, making it ideal for commercial laundromats and households with heavy laundry needs. The bottle also contains two pouring spouts, a clear top for dispensing the detergent and a blue top for allowing air in, preventing a vacuum seal from forming.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IO2YFHK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00IO2YFHK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=7CCMS4WGZD4B5HGD"><em>Currently $12.00 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best laundry detergent. As always, be sure to check <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">Wise Bread's Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-laundry-detergents">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-washing-machines">The 5 Best Washing Machines</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-electric-woks">The 5 Best Electric Woks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/defensive-laundry-9-ways-to-help-your-clothes-last-longer">Defensive Laundry: 9 Ways to Help Your Clothes Last Longer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-self-tanners">The 5 Best Self-Tanners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Shopping cleaning supplies laundry laundry detergent product reviews Wed, 06 May 2015 09:00:26 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1399490 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Electric Woks http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-electric-woks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-electric-woks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_wok_000040185936.jpg" alt="Woman using her electric wok to cook dinner" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Though once used only in Chinese cooking, in modern times woks have made their way into kitchens around the world for their renowned ability to retain heat and necessity in making amazing stir-fry anything. However, without a good gas stove and plenty of room to use the pan (which can be large), it can be extremely difficult to make such amazing dishes. If you can&rsquo;t get the right amount of heat, things won&rsquo;t cook properly, so your wok might be put out of commision in your kitchen. This can be especially true for kitchens where the stovetop is electric. Luckily, modern technology has combined with this traditional cookware to create a product perfect for on-the-go or tableside deliciousness.</p> <h2>What is an Electric Wok?</h2> <p>Like its traditional counterparts, electric woks hold the same shape: circular and wide. However, unlike regular woks, electric woks don&rsquo;t require a stovetop to provide their heat source as they have built-in burners that can be activated after being plugged into an outlet. This makes electric woks more convenient for cooking right at the table or when camping (provided there are outlets on the site).</p> <p>Electric woks are also usually made with non-stick material, which can be extremely helpful if you&rsquo;re not a fan of constantly scrubbing burned-on food off of your pans. Be aware that these electric options are not able to get as hot as a traditional wok because electric appliance must be capped at a certain heat, so some have claimed that they aren&rsquo;t the best for making things that need exceptionally high temperatures like stir fry. Still, people who have tried the electric woks on this list have claimed they produce food just as good as any traditional wok, so rest assured that these options will fit right in with any dinner plans you&rsquo;ve got.</p> <h2>Top 5 Electric Woks</h2> <h3>Breville BEW600XL Hot Wok</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0042RUPFC/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0042RUPFC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=DIEZGUTGJCI5AK6M"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/Breville%20BEW600XL%20Hot%20Wok.jpg" width="240" height="180" align="right" alt="" style="font-size: 18.2000007629395px;" /></a></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0042RUPFC/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0042RUPFC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=DIEZGUTGJCI5AK6M">Breville BEW600XL Hot Wok</a> is what many have called the best electric wok option because of its amazing ability to cook food the same way a non-electric wok can. Instead of the usual complaint that accompanies these appliances that claim they just can&rsquo;t compete with the amount of heat that traditional woks use to cook their food, many customers claim that the Breville is capable of getting that perfect temperature for making great stir-fry.</p> <p>The bowl can detach from the base, but not when it&rsquo;s holding food (because it has to be turned upside down to remove the bowl). This wok is a sizable 14&rdquo; in diameter and holds six quarts, so make sure you&rsquo;ve got room to store it. It&rsquo;s dishwasher safe, and the only complaint seems to be that the non-stick surface is subject to scratching. If you&rsquo;re looking for something large, durable, and able to replace a traditional wok, the Breville BEW600XL Hot Wok is definitely worth serious consideration.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0042RUPFC/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0042RUPFC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=DIEZGUTGJCI5AK6M">Currently $129.95 on Amazon</a></em></p> <h3>Presto 1500 Watt Stainless Steel Electric Wok</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0017UTSLY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0017UTSLY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=UUFHBQ7AX34IAN3L"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/Presto%205900%201500%20Watt%20Stainless%20Steel%20Electric%20Wok.jpg" width="240" height="218" align="right" alt="" style="font-size: 18.2000007629395px;" /></a></p> <p>The best-selling electric wok on Amazon, the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0017UTSLY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0017UTSLY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=UUFHBQ7AX34IAN3L">Presto 5900 1500 Watt Stainless Steel Electric Wok</a> earned its way to the top by being such a quality option for electric wok seekers. Its aluminium base combines with its 1500 watt heating element to provide even cooking throughout the bowl. It measures in at 17&rdquo;x 14&rdquo; x 10&rdquo;, so it&rsquo;s pretty large, but still boasts a portable nature. Seven quarts is about how much you can expect this product to hold comfortably, so its great for big meals.</p> <p>It also comes with a wooden spatula as a bonus to help get your kitchen ready for the delicious dishes you&rsquo;ll be cooking in the Presto 5900. Both the lid and the bowl are dishwasher safe to make cleaning a breeze. The control cord is a little short, but other than that, the Presto 5900 is a versatile product with stellar reviews, and might be the perfect wok for you to bring home if you&rsquo;re looking for an excellent electric wok without non-stick coating.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0017UTSLY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0017UTSLY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=UUFHBQ7AX34IAN3L">Currently $65.00 on Amazon</a></em></p> <h3>Aroma 5-Quart Electric Wok</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HKJGGW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000HKJGGW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=YBHHXK7SYJNKIAO3"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/Aroma%20AEW-306%205-Quart%20Electric%20Wok.jpg" width="240" height="180" align="right" alt="" style="font-size: 18.2000007629395px;" /></a></p> <p>If the models mentioned up to now have seemed a little too large for your needs, then the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HKJGGW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000HKJGGW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=YBHHXK7SYJNKIAO3">Aroma AEW-306 5-Quart Electric Wok</a> might be more up your alley. At a five quart volume and 14&rdquo; x 15.5&rdquo; x 8&rdquo;, it&rsquo;s smaller than the last two woks, but still has the capacity to feed small groups. This product also comes with some cooking chopsticks, a steam rack, and a tempura rack, expanding its usage beyond your average wok. Its cast-metal base and non-stick coating make for a killer combination of fast, even heating and easy cleaning. It&rsquo;s dishwasher safe, but a few customers have said that the non-stick coating starts chipping very early.</p> <p>The temperature knob on the side doesn&rsquo;t increase by specific temperatures, but by regular numbers, but customers have reported this is easy enough to decipher. The glass lid also comes with an adjustable vent that controls how much steam you want to let out depending on the dish. Overall, a great multi-purpose wok with excellent value for families of 2-4 people.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HKJGGW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000HKJGGW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=YBHHXK7SYJNKIAO3">Currently $49.87 on Amazon</a></em></p> <h3>West Bend 6-Quart Capacity Electric Wok</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00005KIR1/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00005KIR1&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=B4NOJQGEE4ULIUTK"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/West%20Bend%2079586%206-Quart%20Capacity%20Electric%20Wok.jpg" width="240" height="192" align="right" alt="" style="font-size: 18.2000007629395px;" /></a></p> <p>With dimensions of 18.5&rdquo; x 14&rdquo; x 6.5&rdquo; and the ability to hold six quarts, the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00005KIR1/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00005KIR1&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=B4NOJQGEE4ULIUTK">West Bend 70586</a> is one of the biggest models on this list, perfect for big groups that are looking to chow down on some delectable stir fry. A great non-stick coating, perfect for cleaning, and a solid metal base make for even cooking. The knob for temperature control is slightly hidden under the bowl, which can make changing the temperature a little difficult, but not impossible.</p> <p>On top of that, this wok also comes with a support ledge which is perfect for keeping food that is done cooking warm while not having to stop anything else from cooking that needs to. This feature can be essential when cooking complicated dishes, and combining it with the longevity reported for this product makes the West Bend 79586 one of the best electric woks on the market, especially when considering what you get for the price.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00005KIR1/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00005KIR1&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=B4NOJQGEE4ULIUTK">Currently $79.99 on Amazon</a></em></p> <h3>Oster 4.5 Quart DuraCeramic Wok</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HVFF6OW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00HVFF6OW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=G4HON6X6SJSGTP3V"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u5171/Oster%204.5%20Quart%20DuraCeramic%20Wok.jpg" width="240" height="240" align="right" alt="" style="font-size: 18.2000007629395px;" /></a></p> <p>If one of your biggest concerns about having any kind of non-stick cookware is the eventual flaking of its coating, then the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HVFF6OW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00HVFF6OW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=G4HON6X6SJSGTP3V">Oster 4.5 Quart DuraCeramic Wok</a> might be perfect for you. The ceramic coating is much stronger than the average non-stick surface, and is PTFE-free, as well as PFOA-free. It&rsquo;s smaller than the other electric wok options on this list, but it can still hold its own and make delicious meals for more than one person at a time.</p> <p>The one complaint about this particular wok seems to be that the temperature knob is located under the handle, making it extremely difficult to read. Other than that, the extreme ease of cleaning and durability of the non-stick surface ensures that the Oster 4.5 Quart DuraCeramic Wok is a great option for anyone looking for something smaller than the other woks mentioned thus far, and for easy maintenance.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HVFF6OW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00HVFF6OW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=G4HON6X6SJSGTP3V"><em>Currently $47.49 on Amazon</em></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janae-spinato">Janae Spinato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-electric-woks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-laundry-detergents">The 5 Best Laundry Detergents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-cutting-boards-0">The 5 Best Cutting Boards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-knife-sharpeners">The 5 Best Knife Sharpeners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-kitchen-luxuries-that-are-worth-it-and-5-that-arent">5 Kitchen Luxuries That Are Worth It (and 5 That Aren&#039;t)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-cat-foods">The 5 Best Cat Foods</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Home Shopping electric woks product reviews woks Thu, 30 Apr 2015 09:00:35 +0000 Janae Spinato 1361230 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Green Home Rebates That Save You Big in 2015 http://www.wisebread.com/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/solar_panels_000016723163_0.jpg" alt="Solar panels are green energy option for home rebate" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For the first time, I'm beginning to seriously consider buying a home and I'm deep into the research and learning phase. One of the aspects I'm most intrigued by these days is how to perform a &quot;green&quot; renovation on an existing home. I've been happy to learn that there are multiple green rebates and credits that you can use in 2015 toward specific green improvements.</p> <h2>1. Geothermal Heat Pumps</h2> <p>Not surprisingly, energy consumption is one of the key areas that benefit from tax credits. <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/geothermal_heat_pumps">Geothermal heat pumps</a> are renewable energy appliances that are not only good for the environment, but also an incredibly comfortable way to heat and cool your home. These heat pumps utilize the ground to generate hot water, heat, and air conditioning, unlike traditional heat pumps which utilize air. Geothermal heat pumps are more efficient &mdash; and therefore less expensive &mdash; to run than traditional heat pumps.</p> <h2>2. Small Wind Turbines</h2> <p>Windmills may conjure visions of Holland or Don Quixote. But they should also give you visions of green, as in green energy and green back in your pocket. <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/small_wind_turbines">Small wind turbines</a> convert kinetic wind energy into electricity that connects to your home's electrical system, and homeowners enjoy significant tax credits for their implementation</p> <h2>3. Solar Energy Systems</h2> <p>Solar energy systems have undergone significant innovation over the years, making them more efficient and less expensive than when they first appeared on the residential energy scene. In terms of tax rebates, there are two types of <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/solar_energy_systems">solar energy systems</a> that qualify: solar water heaters and solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels?ref=seealso">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a>)</p> <h2>4. Fuel Cells</h2> <p>Of all of the green home rebates, the <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/fuel_cells">fuel cell</a> is the newest kid on the block. Fuel cells take advantage of the emerging hydrogen economy to power cars and other consumer goods that have traditionally been powered by fossil fuels. They offer a much cleaner alternative to fossil fuels.</p> <p>While these are the formal green home rebates offered by the federal government, there are plenty of other ways to save money (and the environment) with improvements to your home. ENERGY STAR offers an online <a href="https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=HOME_ENERGY_YARDSTICK.showGetStarted">Home Energy Yardstick</a> that will help you determine the energy efficiency of your home as it currently stands, and will make suggestions for ways to improve it.</p> <p>These improvements include better insulation and sealing, ENERGY STAR appliances and proper use of light fixtures, and even changes as simple as installing drapes, storm windows, and programmable thermostats. While these improvements don't carry tax rebates, they will help lower your energy costs without compromising your comfort. Good for you, good for the planet.</p> <p><em>How have you made your home more &quot;green&quot;? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-ways-to-keep-your-home-warm-this-winter">10 Frugal Ways to Keep Your Home Warm This Winter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-make-your-refrigerator-more-efficient">8 Simple Ways to Make Your Refrigerator More Efficient</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-will-you-save-with-energy-star-appliances">How Much Money Will You Save With Energy Star Appliances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">Naturally Get Rid of Ants in Your Kitchen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home Taxes eco friendly energy efficiency rebates renovations solar tax credits wind Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:00:09 +0000 Christa Avampato 1392475 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Closet Bedrooms That Are Surprisingly Spacious http://www.wisebread.com/8-closet-bedrooms-that-are-surprisingly-spacious <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-closet-bedrooms-that-are-surprisingly-spacious" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_morning_000020877401.jpg" alt="Woman waking up in surprisingly spacious closet bedroom" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're looking for more guest accommodations in your home or have recently added a new addition to the family, extra bedrooms can be hard to find. And when you live in a studio apartment, any added inches you can carve out for general living are absolutely golden.</p> <p>But you're in luck, because I've scoured the web to find the coolest DIY closet bedrooms to open up your cramped lifestyle.</p> <h2>1. Walk-In Retreat</h2> <p>This 420 square foot apartment got a major upgrade when its renter converted her <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ellens-walkin-closet-bedroom-my-bedroom-retreat-contest-186379">walk-in closet to a bedroom</a>. The sleep space is practical but luxurious, fitting a double bed with ease. The double doors to the &quot;room&quot; create a sense of openness but can still be closed to hide clutter in a pinch.</p> <h2>2. Studio Cove</h2> <p>This studio in San Francisco has a secret. Much like with the space above, this <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/northwest-9-shannons-sumptuous-47783">walk-in closet</a> can easily accommodate a double bed. To give it even more separation from the living areas, I'd recommend using a tension rod with some curtains that could be opened or closed whenever company is over.</p> <h2>3. Captain's Bed</h2> <p>Not only is this <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/look-5-21336">closet bedroom</a> cute, but it's also packing some great storage to boot. If you have the headroom, try elevating your bed onto an IKEA LACK shelf, which costs around $130. It gives the appearance of a built-in bed all while giving you room to stow books, clothes, and other items.</p> <h2>4. Kid Cave</h2> <p>Not all apartments are blessed with huge closets, however. I first discovered micro bedrooms when I stumbled upon Huck's spirited <a href="https://instagram.com/p/nZC40GSPQ2/">kid cave</a> on Pinterest. Though the family has since moved to a larger apartment in Brooklyn, in Manhattan he slept on a simple floor mattress with some shelves and hooks to hold all his adorable stuff.</p> <h2>5. Neat Nursery</h2> <p>For babies, closets can provide ample space for sleeping. Check out this <a href="http://www.loftsboston.com/gallery/Court_Square_Press_322/Court_Square_Press_322-17.jpg">room for two cribs</a> (yes, two!). The existing shelving and bars in the area gives the parents lots of options for hanging clothes, storing diapers, and stashing other baby supplies. I like the addition of the dresser that can double as a changing station.</p> <h2>6. Single Crib</h2> <p>Of course, you don't need a gigantic closet to fit a singleton. And if you have a bedroom that's just a bit too small to be called a proper nursery, try <a href="http://lovelymorning.com/index.php/2010/11/jillians-nursery/">removing the closet doors</a> and placing the crib in the negative space. The rest of the room can fit way more stuff with the crib out of the way, and the baby may even sleep a bit better surrounded by all the coziness.</p> <h2>7. Bunk Bed</h2> <p>Whether for overnight guests or squeezing siblings together, these <a href="http://thefykes.blogspot.ca/2008/08/one-house-outside-tennessee.html">bunk beds</a> are where it's at. They fit perfectly into the upstairs closet of this Tennessee home &mdash; complete with a ladder for climbing and even some shelf storage. The folding doors hide this spot away during the day, and I could see French doors working just as well with a bit more style.</p> <h2>8. Closet Loft</h2> <p>Even if your child has a bed and plenty of room to grow, converting the closet can be a smooth move. This playful <a href="http://www.hometalk.com/7439798/diy-closet-loft">closet loft</a> provides a soft reading area and storage for clothing and other items. It'd be the perfect place for friends to sleep over for years to come. Oh, and did I mention it only cost $75 from start to finish?</p> <p><em>Would you ever sleep in a closet bedroom? We'd love to hear your thoughts on this unique use of space in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-closet-bedrooms-that-are-surprisingly-spacious">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-in-your-house-youre-forgetting-to-clean">9 Things in Your House You&#039;re Forgetting to Clean</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-maximize-fridge-and-freezer-space">Here&#039;s How You Maximize Fridge and Freezer Space</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-budget-design-ideas-for-a-kids-playroom">10 Budget Design Ideas for a Kids&#039; Playroom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-garage">12 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Garage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization apartments bedrooms smart sleeping space saving studios Mon, 13 Apr 2015 13:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1380779 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Crazy Spring Cleaning Hacks http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-crazy-spring-cleaning-hacks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-crazy-spring-cleaning-hacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cleaning_000016313427.jpg" alt="Woman spring cleaning with tips and tricks" title="" 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 crazy spring cleaning hacks, over 30 ways to use baby oil, and things you don&rsquo;t need to be happier in life.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://adebtfreestressfreelife.com/9-crazy-spring-cleaning-hacks/">9 Crazy Spring Cleaning Hacks</a> &mdash; Pour some vodka into a spray bottle and lightly spritz your mattress. While the vodka air dries, it will disinfect the mattress and kill any odor-causing bacteria. [A Debt Free Stress Free Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/33-uses-for-baby-oil-most-which-dont-involve-babies/">33 Uses for Baby Oil (Most of Which Don&rsquo;t Involve Babies)</a> &mdash; Prevent soap scum from building up on your shower curtains and doors by coating them with a tiny bit of baby oil. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2015/03/25/10-things-you-do-not-need-to-be-happier-in-life/">10 Things You Do NOT Need to Be Happier in Life</a> &mdash; You don't need to have control over everything in your life to be happy. Some things are uncontrollable &mdash; or so insignificant that they're not worth trying to control. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/ten-steps-for-protecting-yourself-against-an-unexpected-job-loss">Ten Steps for Protecting Yourself Against an Unexpected Job Loss</a> &mdash; Be active in local professional groups and social media to connect with others in your field. A strong professional network can help you find a new job quickly. [The Simple Dollar]</p> <p><a href="http://afewshortcuts.com/2015/03/the-biggest-money-saving-tip-while-on-vacation">The Biggest Money Saving Tip While On Vacation</a> &mdash; Pack your own food! You'll save hundreds on snacks, meals, and drinks if you bring your own. [A Few Short Cuts]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.stevenaitchison.co.uk/blog/21-ways-live-conscious-life">21 Ways to Live a More Conscious Life</a> &mdash; Be picky about your friends, your clothes, your food, your entertainment &mdash; these things influence how you feel about yourself and your life. [Change Your Thoughts]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getorganizedwizard.com/blog/2015/03/protect-home-break-ins-youre-holiday/">Protect Your Home From Break-Ins While You&rsquo;re On Holiday</a> &mdash; Turn down the volume of your landline ringtone or your answering machine, if you have them. [Get Organized Wizard]</p> <p><a href="http://www.shebudgets.com/personal-finance/much-worst-habits-costing">How Much are Your Worst Habits Costing You?</a> &mdash; A family that dines out three nights a week may spend as much as $27,000 a year on restaurant dinners. [SheBudgets]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Items-Buy-New-23918595">7 New Items You Should Buy Right Now</a> &mdash; If your nontstick pots and pans are scratched and chipped, toss them out and get new ones. Cancer-causing chemicals just beneath the surface of nonstick cookware can get into your food if your pans are damaged. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/4-easter-basket-gifts-so-awesome-your-kids-won-t-notice-the-missing-candy">4 Easter Basket Gifts So Awesome Your Kids Won&rsquo;t Notice the Missing Candy</a> &mdash; Easter craft kits will keep your kids busy after all the excitement from the Easter egg hunt has worn off. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-crazy-spring-cleaning-hacks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring">8 Easy Home Maintenance To-Dos for Spring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-for-spring-cleaning-on-a-budget">6 Tips for Spring Cleaning on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-inexpensive-spring-spruce-up-ideas-for-your-home">10 Inexpensive Spring Spruce-Up Ideas for Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-one-month-guide-to-spring-cleaning">Your One-Month Guide to Spring Cleaning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tasks-you-shouldnt-skip-during-spring-cleaning">8 Tasks You Shouldn&#039;t Skip During Spring Cleaning</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home best money tips spring cleaning Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:00:13 +0000 Amy Lu 1360766 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_son_gardening.jpg" alt="family gardening" title="family gardening" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I had given up and admitted defeat. Gardening, I assumed, just wasn't for me. Plants either withered, were destroyed by bugs, or devoured by deer. Anything that lived was tiny and barely edible. I definitely fit the &quot;black thumb&quot; description, and assumed I was doomed to forever forage at the grocery store for produce.</p> <p>And then, we moved. The climate was different. All around me, people were growing fruits and vegetables. Why not give it another shot, I wondered? And so I did. First, I did some research and talked to neighbors. This was followed by years of keeping a garden journal to see what grew, and what did not. Here are my 10 guaranteed successes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way?ref=seealso">10 Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way</a>)</p> <h2>1. Radishes</h2> <p>If you cannot <a href="http://www.kiddiegardens.com/growing_radishes.html">grow radishes</a>, just give up gardening. Oh, sorry, that's a little harsh. My point is, they <em>will</em> grow unless you just don't water them. If you are an apartment-dweller, they fit nicely in pots.</p> <p>Favorite use? Slice good bread, butter it, and slice radishes over the top. Sprinkle with salt. This is known as a &quot;tartine&quot; in France. While it sounds a little odd, it's really good.</p> <h2>2. Herbs</h2> <p>Coming in at number two are herbs. Grow them indoors, outdoors, in pots, on your fire escape, wherever &mdash; they are programmed to grow, and grow they will. Try chives, dill, cilantro, parsley, basil, and rosemary. Fresh herbs in your cooking (even just tossed into your morning scrambled eggs) makes a huge difference in flavor, and are very inexpensive. I have yet to encounter an herb that refused to grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer-and-taste-better?ref=seealso">How to Keep Herbs Fresh Longer</a>)</p> <p>Favorite uses? With basil, make pesto. Chives are great in rolls and scrambled eggs. Parsley, I love in Italian food, and of course cilantro in Asian and Mexican dishes. Dill is good with potatoes or salmon, while rosemary is a natural in a pork roast. I keep herbs going year-round. They can also be frozen or dried if you get carried away and plant too many. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-delicious-cheap-recipes-that-use-up-your-herb-garden?ref=seealso">Delicious Recipes to Use Up Your Herbs</a>)</p> <h2>3. Squash</h2> <p>Of course, zucchini has become a joke (poor zucchini). Open a door in California in September, and you might find a bag of zucchini that someone has kindly &quot;shared&quot; with you. I have indeed made that mistake of planting too much of it. My father-in-law razzed me for years about my massive zucchini plantings. Well, live and learn, right? If you plant zucchini, my mother-in-law made one of my favorite things, ever. She let the zucchinis grow until they were very large. She then thinly sliced them, dipped them in an egg wash, then cracker crumbs, and fried them in butter. It is one of the best things on the planet.</p> <p>There are many varieties of squash, and they are easy to grow. My main problem with squash are bugs, so I have learned to be vigilant. I currently have starts for kabocha squash going, which are very sweet and versatile. My favorite use of kabocha squash is in a <a href="http://www.chow.com/recipes/30268-thai-red-curry-with-kabocha-squash">Thai red curry</a>. This recipe is very good (add some chicken, if you like), but you may want to dial back the red curry paste.</p> <p>Squash also takes a lot of space. A neighbor solved this problem by showing me how to grow it near a fence. They climb! Squash hanging off of a fence are sort of funny, but it also discourages the bugs, which get to them when they are on the ground.</p> <h2>4. Eggplant</h2> <p>It is a shame that so many people associate this vegetable with soggy, overly-greasy eggplant parmigiana. After reading about some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-frugal-eggplant-recipes">tasty eggplant recipes</a>, I planted more of it and it's really the gift that keeps on giving. I have had nearly five months' production from my plants and they show no signs of slowing down. I planted three varieties as an experiment; all are thriving. I never have staked mine, as they are very sturdy and no fruit hangs on the ground, but that is recommended.</p> <p>What to do with an eggplant? See the article above. Some people recommend salting the slices to get rid of the bitterness before cooking, but I have not done that and have not noticed any problems. You can make a much <a href="http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/recipe-makeovers/healthy-eggplant-parmesan-recipes">healthier eggplant parmigiana</a> that isn't so oily, but my favorite use is this <a href="http://www.tillysnest.com/2012/09/crock-pot-ratatouille.html">Crock-Pot ratatouille</a>.</p> <h2>5. Green Beans</h2> <p>My husband built a trellis in the garden area, and so I planted pole beans. It was important to me to have a garden area that is aesthetically pleasing. Pole beans are pretty, and once the beans get going, need to be picked frequently. If the beans get too big, they aren't as tasty. Pole beans take a little bit longer than other green bean varieties, but I think they are worth the wait. I love <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/green-beans-and-bacon-recipe.html">green beans with bacon</a>, served alongside some corn bread and stewed tomatoes.</p> <h2>6. Beets</h2> <p>Scarred by bad childhood beets memories, I didn't try them again until I was in my 30s. Now, I love them. I still like the canned ones, but a freshly roasted or boiled beet is a different matter. Roasting especially brings out their sweetness.</p> <p>If you like kale or spinach, do yourself a favor and cook some <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/simple-and-delicious-beet-greens/">beet greens</a> (or &quot;tops,&quot; as they are also termed). It is a shame that many grocery stores cut off the tops. Beets are also a very pretty vegetable because of their deep purples and golds. There is even a variety that is deep pink and white. My favorite roasted beet recipe uses <a href="http://www.sloatgardens.com/recipes/oven-roasted-beets-goat-cheese-balsamic-vinegar/">goat cheese and balsamic vinegar</a>. Be diligent about thinning them in the garden, because they will need room to grow. They also like mulch.</p> <h2>7. Lettuces</h2> <p>I have had the best luck with Boston lettuce, and it is so easy. You will want to make sure your soil has plenty of nitrogen, and that you have partial shade. After your first harvest (in about 30 days), you can look forward to a second round in a few weeks. Don't get carried away planting &mdash; a small seed packet will produce about 50 pounds of leaf lettuce!</p> <p>Your main issue with lettuce will be bugs. Try spraying with a solution of dish soap (just a couple of drops) and water. You will have to repeat after a heavy rain. Fresh lettuce from your garden, or container, is so nice to have on hand.</p> <h2>8. Rainbow Chard</h2> <p>Not only does this vegetable grow easily, but it looks just beautiful in your garden with its stems of vibrant hues. I am looking at mine right now and I can see gold, purple, red, orange, and pink. It is almost too pretty to eat, but not quite. They prefer full sun, but I have grown chard in partial shade. They like grass-clipping compost. My favorite preparation of rainbow chard is to chop off the tough stems, sauté, and drizzle with red-wine vinegar. I think it's also really good in a <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/crustless-swiss-chard-quiche-311434">chard quiche</a>.</p> <h2>9. Carrots</h2> <p>Successful carrots took me a few years, but that is because I learn things the hard way. They love compost and loose soil; I had too many rocks and tough soil. They grew, but in very strange shapes. I also tended to sow too thickly, which did not give them enough room. Although they take a long time to grow (95 to 100 days), they are much sweeter than grocery-store carrots and you'll quickly become spoiled. You will need to weed around the plants, because weeds just really like to hang out with carrots.</p> <p>How to eat? A German friend taught me this method. Melt butter into a saucepan, and add carrots. Sauté for about four minutes, then add &frac14; cup of beer and cover the saucepan. Cook until just tender and add fresh dill. Delicious!</p> <h2>10. Bok Choy or Chinese Cabbage</h2> <p>My best bok choy year was also my best carrot year, which was no coincidence. Bok choy also enjoys rich, loose soil. It is best grown in spring or fall, because it doesn't like hot sun beating down upon it. As with the carrots, though, be prepared to weed around the plants. I like bok choy at its simplest: Sauteed in a little oil, with garlic.</p> <h2>To Ensure Success</h2> <p>Before planting, we had a soil analysis done at the local university. These can also be done at your local agricultural extension. This was very helpful, and told us just what we needed to add to our soil. We took our print-out to a farm store, where we could pick up bags of recommended nutrients. Our print-out also recommended the best plants to try (which proved completely correct, although I did experiment with others).</p> <p>If you plan to do a big garden, you might as well start a compost bin, since you will need it. I do end up buying cinders and chicken manure every year, but that's not terribly expensive. If you are container-gardening, just be sure to get a good brand of potting soil.</p> <p>My garden journal has also been very helpful. Each year I sketch out what I want to plant, and where. I keep notes about how long things took to grow, and how successful (or not) they were. I also kept photos in the journal so I could have a visual reminder of where plants did particularly well.</p> <p><em>Gardener-readers, with what plants have you had the best luck?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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