Jay Costantino's Blog
There are more cleaning supplies on the market than ever before. If you walk down the cleaning section of Target you'll find an array of brooms, scrubbers, and solutions that are all variations on the same simple ideas. Furthermore, these products have begun capitalizing on single-use components like a sweeper with throwaway pads or disposable dusters. All of these expenses add up and before you know it you're spending up to $70 each month just on cleaning supplies. Fortunately, many frugal consumers have noticed this trend and have come up with creative ways to save money on cleaning. In this article, we'll cover some frugal cleaning products and solutions that will save you a ton of money at the checkout line.
Sweeping, dusting, and moppingLet's face it, the Swiffer is a great invention. It mops, sweeps, and dusts without the mess of a bucket of water. Plus it's lightweight and versatile making it useful for many surfaces around the home. The down side? Having to buy all of those expensive replacement pads. If you're like me, you feel a twinge of guilt whenever you throw out at item that seems wasteful. For me, cleaning supplies are the epitome of wastefulness. So, instead of using the throwaway pads you could do a a few things. First, you could buy a reusable pad online. Some are designed to fit various sweepers. Alternatively, there are some cloths that you can buy at your local dollar store that will fit onto your sweeper just fine. Once one gets dirty, put the next one on and sink wash them all when you're done. The other option is to knit or crochet your own sweeper cover. There are lots of patterns online that will help you get started, plus a hand-made cloth adds more meaning to the mundane work of sweeping the house. For those spots you don't dust with your sweeper-duster (like a TV, or the tops of picture frames), you could always dust with your used dryer sheets that you'd otherwise just toss in the trash. Keep them in a bag in your cabinet so you remember to use them.
Go paperlessPaper towels and napkins are always expensive and seldom on sale. Plus, all that paper usage does a number on the environment. Instead of reaching for a paper towel at dinner, keep a stack of microfiber cloths, handkerchiefs, or hand towels. When this isn't possible, like in the case of a big cookout, use choose-a-size paper towels to get more usage out of a roll. And speaking of choosing a size, the next time you buy sponges or "magic erasers," cut them in half to double the length of time you can use them.
Cleaning solutionsMaking your own cleaning solutions has many benefits. First, you get to save money because the supplies tend to be cheap, household items. Second, you get to avoid all of the harsh chemicals that are often added to commercial cleaners, helping your health and the environment. Third, you can make them in bulk and not have to worry about them running out. Recipes for homemade cleaning solutions and air fresheners are abundant online. In general, however, they rely on a few simple ingredients: water, vinegar, baking soda, and some type of citrus like lemons, limes, or oranges.
Moving is stressful. You have to worry about cleaning out your old home, preparing your new one and all of the logistical headaches that come with it. If that weren't enough, you still have to balance your work and family life with the demands of moving into a new home. With all of those factors taken into account, it's easy to make mistakes on moving day. Today, we'll cover five of the most common mistakes people make while moving to a new home and how to avoid them.
1. Thinking you don't need helpNone of us want to burden our friends or our wallets for moving. But unless all of your belongings fit in a suitcase and you're moving to a furnished apartment you're going to need some help. Whether it's friends, family, or professional movers, make sure you have enough people to help you with the moving process. Don't worry, you can repay them with free food or a good tip accordingly.
2. Assuming your help is reliableIf you're counting on friends and family to help you move, check in with them a few days in advance to make sure they're still available. Give them details for the exact time and place they're needed. As a courtesy, order everyone pizza at the new house in exchange for their help. If you're hiring a mover, do some research before you commit to one. Read customer reviews and testimonials, make sure they have all required licensing, and so on. Call to confirm on the day before the move to make sure no mix-ups have been made.
3. Not taking traffic into accountIf you and your movers are on a deadline, take traffic into account for your move. Do a test run along the moving route during the hours you'll be traveling to find out how long it will take. This will also help you plan out stops for gas if needed. Another good practice is to print out directions to the new home and give them to everyone who will be driving. This way you and your moving van know exactly which route to take.
4. Forgetting overnight necessitiesNecessities like a tooth brush, deodorant, soap, and cell phone charger should be packed in a separate bag that stays with you. This way it won't get lost among your boxes and regardless of where you're sleeping that night you'll know where to find the important items you need.
5. Not planning for their petMoving your belongings is easy, but moving your pet will require extra planning. You'll have to ready your crate, pet food, toys, litter box or dog bags, and anything else your pet needs. You'll also need to look out for your pet during the move since doors will be opening and closing and they'll be in a new (potentially frightening) environment. If you can, have someone pet sit for you on moving day. If that isn't possible, keep the pet in an empty room with everything they need until you've settled in, checking up on them periodically.
Behind your doors and windows lies everything you hold dear. Your family, pets, important documents, expensive laptops and televisions rely on the hope that no one will break into your home. In spite of this, many people choose not to take the best safety precautions available, whether it is because they feel safe in their neighborhood or they think they can't afford a security system. As home security technologies advance, homeowners and renters get a growing selection of security systems. Finding a security system that works with your budget while still keeping you safe is possible. However, learning about the various systems and choosing one that works best for your needs is the hard part. In this article, we'll cover the basic types of security systems and what they offer so you can make the best decision for your home and family.
Monitored or unmonitoredOne way of dividing up security systems is monitored and unmonitored. Monitored systems depend on landline, cellular, or broadband connection to communicate with the security provider who will call your home and alert authorities in case of a break-in. Unmonitored systems, on the other hand, rely only on alarms such as sirens and flashing lights.Monitored systems that are connected via landline have the disadvantage of being cut or by losing connections due to power outages. Cellular-based systems (a.k.a. wireless monitoring) have the advantage of staying up even if your telephone line is cut. One disadvantage of monitored systems is that they often come with monitoring fees.The disadvantage of unmonitored systems is that it relies on your neighbors to call the police in case of an emergency. The problem with this is that not all neighbors are going to go see if everything is okay until it's potentially too late.
Contracts and InstallationDepending on whether you rent or own your house and how long you plan to stay in your house, you'll want to read over contracts before signing away. If you plan on moving or are only leasing your apartment, it might be a better option to buy a system outright that you can set up yourself at your next home. Systems that rely on technicians for installs may charge you fees for having to relocate or uninstall your system.
Added featuresHome security and home automation are two separate industries that have become one due to similarities in the way they function. Many home security companies now offer automation technologies that allow you to control various items in your home remotely.If you can't remember if you locked your door or if you need to unlock it for a house guest, there's no need to leave work--just hit a button on your smart phone to unlock the door. Other systems even allow you to answer your doorbell remotely from your smartphone in the same way that you would have a conversation on your phone. If you are paranoid about checking up on your house, you could go with a system that allows you to view your security cameras live feed right from your phone or computer. Now that you know the basics of home security systems, go check out some of the top rated providers and compare prices. You'll soon be on your way to making your home an even safer place for you and your family.
If there's one thing more stressful than moving it's moving over long distances. Moving far away often means new jobs, new friends, and a new way of life. It's a big change that doesn't need to be made any more difficult by a complicated moving process. In this article, we'll cover some ways to prepare yourself for a long distance move so that you can rest easy knowing you're ready for this new chapter of your life.
A new home, a new lifestyleIf you're moving across the country you probably don't know where to begin when it comes to preparing yourself. A good place to start is with the basics of daily life. Ask yourself these questions before you start packing:
- Do I have the right clothes? You don't need a whole new wardrobe before you move, but you don't want to brave a Northeast winter with just a sweatshirt either.
- What can I get rid of? Think about all of the items you have and how much you use them. If you haven't used something in a year there's a good chance it's not worth hauling across the country.
- How much space will I have? If you're moving into a house bigger than the one you have now you might not need to part with many bulky items. If not, consider having a yard sale before you move.
- Do I know enough about where I'm moving? When moving to a new place, you'll want to know where the closest hospitals, gas stations, and grocery stores are. Explore Google Maps and websites for the area you're moving to to get to know the place beforehand. Write down important addresses and telephone numbers.
Create a timelineWith all of the changes that are about to happen in your life, odds are you'll get overwhelmed with many of the details of moving. Create a moving timeline, whether it's in an app on your smartphone or on a piece of paper. On this timeline, write in dates you'll need to accomplish certain items by. Here are some sample items for your timeline:
- Pick a move-in/move-out date by today
- Choose a moving company by today
- Sell or donate unwanted items by today
- Sign paperwork and exchange keys today
- Donate clothes by today
- Going away party by today
- Pack up office by today
- Pack up living room by today
Packing your belongingsWhen packing for a long distance move there is more pressure to do it right and not forget anything. Follow these packing tips to ensure a safe travel:
- Take inventory. Use an app that helps you categorize your belongings. Check off important items as they're packed and cross them off as they're unpacked at your new home.
- Pack one room at a time. This will help you keep everything together and ensure you don't forget anything. It will make unpacking much easier.
- Don't forget to label all your boxes. Keep that Sharpie in your back pocket at all times.
- Communicate. Make sure everyone who is moving with you and helping you move are all on the same page when it comes to packing so that no details are overlooked.
- Use extra padding. A longer drive means more opportunities for something to get broken along the way. Pack boxes full and put fragile items on the bottom of the truck.