Monthly Archives: September 2014

Save Money by Exploring Cleaning Agencies

Introduction
When an individual decides that they may need a cleaner, they now have the option of employing a cleaning agency. However, most individuals still don’t know that much about them. This is a brief guide regarding this new concept.

What is a cleaning agency?
These agencies are a relatively new concept. They are usually set up by a person on their own or via a franchise. The agency will hire cleaners, who are self-employed, to go and work for a company in their offices or for an individual in their homes. The agency will sign a contract with that company for the cleaners to come and clean at the company’s offices. With the individual, it could be a contract or the cleaner could come to the individual’s home on an ad hoc basis.

The benefits of using an agency
The clean is done by someone else
Some people lead hectic lives due to work, children or a combination of the two. Other people, due to illness or ill health, are no longer able to clean their home. In those instances, an agency is ideal in that a cleaner will come to the property and will be able to clean the home for the individual.
Save Money by Exploring Cleaning Agencies
More spare time
Where an individual spends most of their time at work, they may not be able to spend time with their children or have the time to pursue other interests. Yet, if an individual has a cleaner to come in and take over the home clean, it will leave the individual with more time to relax.
Professional and a better clean
Most reputable agencies will employ people who have a vast amount of experience and who are professional cleaners. In some instances, the cleaner in question would have had to pass several tests regarding their cleaning before they are given the job. Therefore, it is often the case that the cleaner will do a better job of the clean than the individual as they will know how to professionally clean and polish items.
Professional equipment
The cleaners will usually come with their own equipment. Usually, it will be professional equipment, which is much better to clean a person’s home.
Save Money by Exploring Cleaning Agencies2
Appropriate checks
Most reputable agencies will do a background check on the good cleaner, to ascertain their immigration status, their references and whether they have a criminal record.

The downside of using an agency
Unable to trust a stranger
Some people find it hard to trust someone that they don’t know and they feel uncomfortable with a stranger in their house. In the event that the person is working, they will have to leave their possessions in the hands of a cleaner that they hardly know. This unease can lead to an unpleasant working atmosphere.
No private time
In the event that the individual works from home or they have young children, they will find themselves at home with the cleaner. It will mean that the person will have no private time to themselves, which may cause resentment against the cleaner.
High standards of cleanliness
Some individuals set a high standard regarding the cleanliness of their home and they can be extremely opinionated about the efforts of a cleaner. In those instances, it would probably work out better for the person not to employ an agency.
The cost of employing a good agency.
This decision will be down to the individual. Most good and reputable agencies are not cheap. The individual would have to decide whether they can afford to employ a professional cleaner each month or to do the cleaning themselves.

Save Money on Landscaping

Energy-Savings

If you own a home, you’ll quickly realize there are hidden costs of keeping your property in presentable condition.  Not only do maintenance costs add-up as you strive to stay on top of repairs, but home improvements are also on the budget agenda, requiring capital above and beyond the regular costs of home ownership.  And if the expenses associated with keeping your house and other structures are not enough, landscaping the grounds and keeping the exterior in good shape are also important ongoing costs pulling on your domestic budget.

There are a number of approaches to take when addressing exterior conditions on your property, which hinge on the unique features of the land surrounding your home, to a certain extent.  Regardless of the physical characteristics of your property, however, there are money saving opportunities available to ease the budget pressure without sacrificing the quality of your home’s exterior landscaping.  Likewise, savings prevail at every budget level, so even those with limited landscaping needs can build savings into their approaches.

As you formulate your landscaping plans and begin to sketch out outdoor designs, lean on these proven strategies to keep costs in-line and present your property in its best possible light.

Do it Yourself

Not everyone has a green thumb, so self-inspired landscaping can be an intimidating proposition.  Still, there is money to be saved by contributing your own talents to your domestic landscaping projects.  And while you may not be capable of installing large trees on your property, adding small plants, vines and shrubs may be well within your comfort level.  Hiring a professional landscaping company has its advantages, to be sure, but it comes with a price tag, so expect to pay top dollar for quality services.

Make it Count

Successful landscaping is all about creating the proper scale for the features you add to exterior spaces.  Adding only a few sparse plants, shrubs, or trees, for example, does not go far enough to create a unified appearance, resulting instead in a fragmented look.  On the other hand, micro-managing the space by incorporating small-scale flower beds results in an unmanageable green space and consistently stretches budgets thin as you strive to fill vast spaces with small plants.

Finding the happy medium conserves costs, because the plants you select fill spaces adequately, leaving room for them to grow over time.  As a result, it is important to take a wide-angle approach to your landscaping needs, crafting realistic blueprints of what you’d like to see in the final product.  Once established, it becomes easier to fill in the blanks with vegetation within your budget.  By making each selection count, you’ll ultimately realize your landscaping visions, without breaking the bank.

Split Plants as the Grow

As your gardens and flower beds continue to expand from season to season, you’ll find some of the plants they contain grow quickly, outgrowing the space you’ve dedicated to particular pieces of vegetation.  For landscapers operating on a budget, this is a prime opportunity to save money on your exterior projects.

Splitting plants and spreading them around your property elevates its appearance, without further investment.  Hostas and other plants, for example, withstand transplants and actually respond favorably when they are split.  Propagating shoots is also viable in some cases, as cuttings thrive when planted in the same soil as their “parents”.

If there is a disadvantage to this landscaping approach, it is a lack of variety.  Fortunately, this shortfall is easily addressed by sharing landscaping resources with neighbors.  As you split existing plants, others in your area are doing the same, furnishing low-budget ways to share the bounty.

Saving Money on Energy Bills

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We’ve all seen our energy bills going up, especially in the last couple of years. Between conflicts in the Middle East, questions about the future supply of oil and gas from Russia, and environmental restrictions placed upon energy producers, the cost of energy is likely to continue to rise. Thankfully, there are a number of things that you can do to reduce the amount of energy you consume in your home so you don’t have to take out a second mortgage or get payday loans just to keep the lights on and the temperature tolerable. Here are a few to get you started. Quit heating the neighborhood Begin by making sure that you aren’t losing most of the heat you pay for to draughts. The cost of sealing your home could be offset by reductions in your bills in as little as a few months. Start small, but start somewhere. For example:

  • Make certain that doors and windows seal effectively. Install weather stripping, caulk gaps around frames, and consider replacing old, single-pane windows with energy-efficient ones.
  • Install inexpensive foam seals at all exterior outlets and switches. Up to 20% of heat is lost through these small, frequently overlooked items.
  • Seal off the fireplace. That cheery fire might be nice and toasty when you stand close by, but most fireplaces suck out much more heat than they produce.
  • Install insulating drapes at all your windows, and keep them closed when you don’t need the outside light.

Make your hot water heater more efficient A lot of the energy used to heat your water is lost due to radiant heat coming off the boiler. Wrap it in one of those thermal blankets designed specifically for the purpose. You should also set the water temperature lower. You want the water to be hot enough to clean your dishes and give you a comfortable shower. Keeping the setting hot enough to make tea will cost you many additional pounds each month. If you can afford it, consider replacing your old water heater with one of the new, energy-efficient models. Don’t overwork your furnace Naturally, the harder your furnace works, the more you’re going to pay each month.

  • For every degree you lower your thermostat setting, you will reduce your heating bill by several (or more than several) pounds.
  • Heat only the rooms you occupy. It makes no sense to pay to keep that extra bedroom warm all the time, and even the bedrooms you use don’t need to remain toasty when you’re not in them.
  • Have your ducts professionally cleaned. Aside from the increase in efficiency clean ductwork provides, your family will be healthier for not breathing in all the dust and contaminants that accumulate in the ducts.

Dress for the season Toss on an extra sweater while you’re home. As much as you might be longing for spring, putting on your shorts and t-shirt and keeping the house at summer temperatures translates into one heck of an expensive fantasy. Replace electrical appliances with modern, energy efficient ones There have been great leaps in the efficiency of all our electrical appliances, from the smallest on up. When it’s time to replace, choose wisely.

  • Furnaces – Running modern furnaces can cost about half what their older counterparts cost. An efficient furnace is a significant investment, but one that will pay for itself over the long term.
  • Dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers – Again, newer, energy-efficient units will save a considerable amount on your monthly bills, and will generally pay for themselves within a few years.

Install ceiling fans They circulate the air, spreading heat in winter and cool in summer, making the room more comfortable without having to adjust the temperature. Even if you have to hire a professional to install the fans (they’re really quite easy to install), they will pay for themselves in a matter of months. These are just a few of the ways that you can save money on your energy bills. While some of them do involve a significant investment, the payoff can come in a matter of months, and from that point forward, the savings will be considerable.