Ways To Save Electricity During The Summer

4 Misconceptions About Mortgages

10 Ways to Save on Utility Bills During the Summer Months

The summer heat is often the culprit behind jumps in electricity costs during the summer months, so do what you can now to conserve energy and avoid additional costs as the weather heats up. If you’re looking to cut back on your spending throughout the summer, your utility bills are great places to start when making changes to your everyday life. 

Here are 10 ways to save on utility bills during the summer months, adopt an environmentally friendly lifestyle and avoid overspending on household expenses this year.

  1. Switch Off the Lights When You Leave a Room – Turning off the lights when walking out of a room is a great way to curb your energy consumption in the summer.
  2. Use Rain as a Free Water Source – Collecting rainwater in buckets during a storm is an active way to cut down on your water usage while taking care of your yard this season.
  3. Close Your Blinds and Curtains During the Day – Keeping the heat out on bright, sunny days is an effective way to control your energy expenses this summer.
  4. Keep Doors and Vents Shut – Closing off parts of your house where you don’t spend much time is a convenient way to limit cooling costs while at home during the summer.
  5. Spend Your Free Time Outside – Going out every day to embrace the warm weather and enjoy the great outdoors is a smart way to use less energy in the summertime.
  6. Find Creative Ways to Cool Down – Drinking ice-cold beverages and taking cool showers are small ways to save money on utilities while making the most of the summer.
  7. Put Wet Clothes Out on a Clothesline – Using the hot summer sun to dry your clothes after washing them is an effortless way to reduce utility bills and spend time outside.
  8. Monitor the Temperature on Your Thermostat – Setting a default number for your air conditioning is a simple way to keep your energy bills from rising when it’s hot outside.
  9. Opt for Fans Instead of Air Conditioning – Circulating air throughout your home with fans is an economical way to cool down your living space while using less energy.
  10. Unplug Electronics That Aren’t Being Used – Pulling out their cords when you’re not using your electronics and chargers is an easy way to limit your energy usage this summer.

These 10 ways to save on utility bills during the summer months will keep you from breaking the bank when the weather gets warmer this year. Whether you’re focused on using less water, running your air conditioning on a lower setting or another method, it’s possible to cut back on power usage and save money in the process.

Your Guide To June

Welcome summer!

 

 

World Oceans Day

More than 70% of the Earth is covered by ocean. Pledge to do your bit for ocean conservation today!

 

 

 

Flag Day

 It’s the birthday of Old Glory — 242 years old this year. Check the official rules for displaying the Stars and Stripes.

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day

Anyone can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a dad. Thank you to dads everywhere!

 

 

 

 

Juneteenth

 

Also known as Freedom Day, this important holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S.

 

  

 

First Day of Summer

Get ready for surf, sun, and sand. Summer is here again!

 

 

 

  

United Nations Public Service Day

Since 2003, this day has honored those who selflessly work to promote public service throughout the world.

 

 

 

 

The main reason people give for not buying a home is that they believe they can’t afford it[2]. But there are low- and no-down payment programs that may be able to help make buying a home a real possibility! Talk to your lender to learn more.

 

Sources
[1] Census.gov
[2] National Association of REALTORS®
[3] Zillow
[4] U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Bug Repelling Plants You Need!

Its that time of year….warmer weather….longer days….and being outside! If you are like me though, you don’t appreciate the mosquitoes and flies joining you.

I am not a fan of spraying my yard with chemicals to keep these pesky bbq visitors at bay and have found that certain  plants can help serve as a replacement for those synthetic insecticides, as long as you know how to use them to your advantage. Plants have unique natural abilities to emit different chemical substances with them they repel or attract specific insects. Flowers bring a pretty sight and a pleasant fragrance for us, however, for pests they often pose a life threat.

 

Herbs That Repel Insects


Lavender

Apart from mosquitoes, lavender oil can chase other bugs, such as fleas, flies and moths.lavender

 

Mint

Although a domesticated plant, the mint still spreads like weeds if left in the ground, minttherefore it’s best to grow it in pots. Placing mint pots around your patio and garden will also help you keep mosquitoes away.

 

 

 

Basil

Mosquitoes are repulsed by the basil scent. A pot of basil, or a stalk hung is a natural  basil repellent. There’s an oil in basil that kills mosquito eggs too.

 

 

Rosemary

Rosemary is one of the herbs that are multifunctional. It’s extremely resistant to outer conditions, however, it needs a lot of sunlight. Repels mosquitoes and a variety of insects harmful to vegetable plants.

 

Lemon Balm
Having lemon balm in your garden will repel mosquitoes, thanks to the natural essential oils and strong smell of the plant.

 

Lemongrass

The lemongrass is a perennial tropical grass plant (so sadly only an annually up here in the cold states) Citronella is a natural oil found in lemongrass so its the perfect repellent not only for mosquitoes but flies and other unwanted bugs!

 

Lemon thyme

The lemon thyme is a bush, with yellow-green small leaves that smell like lemon. The lemon thymefully-grown plants blossom during the summer with pink, lavender-like flowers.

In order to infuse its qualities and repel the nasty mosquitoes, you must first release the chemicals in the plant by crushing the leaves. Make sure that, at first, you are not allergic to those chemicals by smearing a piece of crushed leaf on your arm for a few days.

 

Oregano

Oregano is one of those universal spices used throughout the world and is well-known to everyone who’s spent at least some time in the kitchen. Not many knows, on the other hand, that oregano belongs to the family of natural insect repellents. Mosquitos, cabbage butterfly, and cucumber beetle don’t stand a chance, amongst others, however, some insects won’t bother, such as spider mites, leafhoppers and aphids. Therefore, you can plant the oregano near garlic and onions.

 

 

Flowers That Repel Insects


Marigolds

In the wild marigolds are agile and also happen to grow out of dumping-grounds. The marigoldmarigold is a peculiar barometer – if the blossoms remain closed after 7 in the morning, then it means it will rain during the day.

There are different kinds of marigolds – lighter and darker, with larger and smaller blossoms, but they all carry the same health benefits. Plus, marigolds’ smell chases off not only aphids and mosquitoes but also big animals such as rabbits.

 

Ageratum

This seasonal flower effectively repels mosquitoes with its fragrance. During production of some repellents, one of the important ingredients comes from the plant. However, it’s not recommended to rub your skin with ageratum leaves . That might cause unwanted and very unpleasant allergic reactions. The ageratum is extremely easy to grow – undemanding to the soil and light-loving.

 

Chrysanthemums

A special chemical in the chrysanthemums, called pyrethrum, is the thing that keeps chrysanthemumbugs away. Roaches, ticks, fleas, bed bugs, spider mites, Japanese beetles and ants – be gone. The ingredient is part of different insecticides in the USA and is used in sprays and flea pet shampoos. Be careful with the spray bottles, if you happen to have one, since pyrethrum is poisonous to people in certain amounts.

 

 

So get out there and plant and enjoy your backyard and beautiful weather!

Bumping Up Curb Appeal on a Budget

When it comes to selling your home, first impressions matter. The outside of your home should draw prospective buyers in and make them want to see more. If you’re going to put your home on the market this spring, one of the first things you need to do is take a step back and turn a critical eye to the front of your home. Even if you’re not contemplating a move, a beautiful façade will make your home a joy to, well, come home to.

 

In its 2018 Remodeling Impact Survey, 99% of members of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) said that curb appeal is important when attracting homebuyers.[1] So you know you need to give the front of your home a freshen-up — but uh-oh, you’re also trying to save money to move once your house is sold. Fear not! Many tasks that enhance curb appeal can be done for little or no cost. Here are a few budget-friendly ways to boost your home’s looks. 

 

When prospective buyers pull up to the front of your home and take in their first view, they want to see a clean, pretty building that they can imagine as their own. Washing the front of your home and the walkway will refresh the façade, and may even make repainting the front unnecessary. 

Concrete driveways can look refreshed after a power wash too!

 

Your windows should sparkle. They should be so clean that you can’t even tell there’s glass in them! Be sure to clean them inside and out. While you’re at it, giving your blinds and curtains a wash is a great idea too. 

A freshly painted door in a bold color with shiny new hardware can make a bright change for less than $75. New house numbers in a modern style add appeal, and a new doormat can send a welcoming message to all who approach. Finish off the rehab with a stylish letterbox that just shouts Buy me! 

Your front yard should be green and neatly trimmed, with no bald patches or brown grass. Trees and shrubs should be pruned and shaped. Clean up your flower garden and put down some fresh, dark mulch for a rich-looking bed. No flowers? Fill large tubs halfway with pebbles or wood chips, add soil on top, and plant bunches of bright flora that will bloom for at least a month. 

Turn on your sprinklers before viewings. The sparkle on your greenery and the fresh scent of water on plants will enhance your home’s attractiveness. 

 

It’s something you might not think about, but it’s the least expensive job on this list: Ensuring convenient parking for real estate agents and their clients — and having open space in front of your home — can make your property seem more accessible and slightly bigger. Can’t guarantee a front-row parking space in your neighborhood? At least be sure to remove toys, lawn tools, and any other unnecessary items from your front yard. A buyer needs to see your home with nothing blocking the view. 

Once you have your home looking great from the street, the challenge is to keep it looking wonderful through all of the upcoming showings. Make a schedule to stay on top of mowing, weeding, watering, and other lawn and plant maintenance, plus keeping the driveway clean and the porch swept. And be sure to include pulling weeds from between stepping stones or bricks on your list. All of those little details mean a lot when it comes to curb appeal.

 

 

Sources:
[1] National Association of REALTORS®, 2018 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features.
[2] Houselogic, “8 Tips for Adding Curb Appeal and Value to Your Home.”

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Pesticides and chemical fertilizers may give your garden a boost at first, but in the long run they’re doing a lot of damage to the environment as well as to your little plot of land. Here are some alternative ways to green your gardening.

 

 

Fertilizer

Also called “soil conditioners,” natural fertilizers don’t only help your current garden grow, they also promote healthy soil for your future plant growth by making the earth more inclined to hold water and nutrients. Manure is one of the best natural fertilizers you can use.

 

 

Compost

If you’ve already got a compost pile going, you’re one step ahead! Compost can give your fertilizer a boost by holding the nutrients until the plants are ready to use them. Not a composter yet? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has some tips.

 

 

Insects

It may sound odd, but there are a variety of little critters that you can purchase to benefit your garden. Ladybugs will eat those awful aphids and many other plant-eating pests. Earthworms will help aerate the soil, allowing nutrients to soak down and roots to expand. Other multi-legged fauna you should encourage in your garden include spiders, praying mantises, bumblebees, lacewings, and braconid wasps. Best of all, most of them can be ordered online and shipped directly to your home!

 

Rainwater

Setting up a rain barrel will help you save on your water bill while providing untreated water to your flowers and food. Water from your utility has chemicals and additives that your plants can do just as well without, and some of the treatments may even inhibit the soil from holding the nutrients you’ve added and your plants from absorbing them properly.

 


Lay the foundation.

The organic matter, that is. Mix your compost and manure well and spread it generously on your garden — about a half inch to one inch deep.

 

Loosen the earth.

Using an aerator, a tiller, or just a trowel, stir up the earth to mix in the organic matter and allow plenty of oxygen to infuse the dirt. This is a good time to “plant” some earthworms as well.

 

Mulch much.

Adding mulch to your garden is especially critical in dry climates, as it helps retain moisture. Mulch can also reduce the amount of weeds that poke through your carefully cultivated land. Gardens generally need 1 to 4 inches of mulch, depending on the type you’re using and the plants you’re protecting, with most recommendations coming in at 2 to 3 inches. More than 4 inches could suffocate your garden.

 

Scientifically Speaking …

If you’re so inclined, testing your soil before planting season will let you know exactly which nutrients are lacking so you can make up for them with additives.

When you switch to green gardening, you’re not only cultivating your own bit of earth — you’re also helping to strengthen and enrich the soil for future generations. Who knows what will be growing in your garden in 50 years?