Marianne Ganzenmuller's Blog
If you’re looking to save more energy and money around your home, perhaps one of the first places that you should look is your plugs. Take a look around your rooms and see what outlets are being used. If every outlet is full of plugs, you may have some adjustments to make.
There are so many things in our homes that require plugs including TV’s, microwaves, toasters, clocks, refrigerators, phone chargers, and more.
Anything that is always plugged in actually adds to your electric bill whether you’re using it or not. This is known as phantom power usage. Even when a device isn’t turned on, it’s still using energy.
You don’t want to go around your home and unplug everything, only to plug it back in when you need to use it. Use this handy guide to discover what you should unplug and what you can leave plugged in your home in order to save some energy and some money.
What To Unplug
Large appliances in your kitchen would be impractical to constantly plug in and unplug. Smaller appliances, however, are much easier to manage. These include toasters, coffee makers, food processors, and microwaves. The small digital clocks on many of these devices, for example, are constantly using energy. Do you really need the function? If you don’t need to know the time, you should just unplug it and save your home some energy usage.
We need to charge just about all of our devices including laptops, iPads, phones, and even electric toothbrushes. these items don’t need to be plugged in all the time. Once a device is charged fully, be sure to unplug it. It’s only wasting energy otherwise!
Unplug your computer each and every night. Screen savers and sleep modes don’t actually save much power from being used while your computer is plugged in. It’s a good idea to keep your computer unplugged for safety reasons as well. A strike of lighting hitting, for example, can cause your entire system to fry.
Keep These Items Plugged In
There are certain items that you can leave plugged in at your home without worry. These items include:
- Power strips
- Nondigital items
- Items without clock or LCD displays
Power strips are particularly useful for items like entertainment centers and computer setups. Flipping the switch to the off position on the power strip helps to stop the phantom power usage. The convenient thing is that you won’t need to plug and unplug everything in individually, and you’ll still save power.
Saving energy and money is easy when you have the right strategies put in place.
Finding the perfect bedroom mattress is a must if you want to feel and function at your best. The right bedroom mattress can also have a positive impact on your relationships. Your health will also thank you after you get and start sleeping on the right mattress.
What to look for in the right bedroom mattress
After all, poor sleep doesn't only cause you to feel fatigued, as if you're literally dragging your body around, during the day. Lack of sleep or poor sleep can also contribute to irritability, heart disease, high blood pressure, dizziness and difficulty concentrating.
Avoiding these problems is as simple as finding the right mattress. Be patient. You could sleep on a mattress for eight years or more. Features to look for in a great bedroom mattress include:
- The right amount of firmness - You want a mattress that supports your entire body, all of your weight
- Room to roam - The perfect bedroom mattress is wide enough to allow you to roll from side to side. If you move a lot while you sleep, go for a king size bed. Also go for a bedroom mattress that is long enough to support your head, arms, calves and feet. The perfect bedroom mattress will not require you to draw up your legs or hang your feet over the bottom of the mattress.
- No sag - Ensure that the mattress does not dip,sink or sag when you lay on it. If you're married, try both sides of the mattress. It's best to visit a mattress store with your spouse, so that you both can try out the mattress.
- Consider your box springs - If you're only replacing your bedroom mattress, measure your box springs before you head to the store. You want a mattress that easily fits your box springs.
- Design - If decor is important to you, go with a mattress that has the type of design that you appreciate.
- Accidents - A good mattress can sustain minor water spills. Ask the retailer that you work with how well the mattress handles spills. Find out if the mattress stains easily if a liquid is spilled on it.
- Comfort - Lay on a mattress for several minutes. To get the real feel of a mattress, give yourself several days to try out different mattresses. You could even create a simple spreadsheet to chart and compare how different mattresses feel. Don't rely on television, magazine and other advertisements. Actually try several mattresses out yourself before you make a purchase.
Sleep deprivation is nothing to take lightly. There are physical, emotional and mental health risks associated with poor sleep. Finding the perfect bedroom mattress can help to reduce those risks. When you sleep on the right mattress,the type of bedroom mattress that fits the weight and shape of your body, you may wake in a better mood which can, in turn, lead to better communications and relationships.
Making a compost binThere are endless ways to make a compost bin. In fact, a bin isn't even necessary to make good compost, and some people choose to just keep a pile that they turn throughout the year. Making a bin has many advantages, however: it keeps the compost pile warm and moist (two essential elements that speed up decomposition), it keeps pests out of your compost, and it keeps your neighbors happy who might not want to smell decomposing food when they go outside. Compost bins are commonly made from wood, chicken wire or plastic. Some towns even subsidize compost bins to encourage people to compost rather than throwing their compostable waste in the trash. Old wooden pallets are a great product to build compost bins from.
Adding compost to your binPeople who are new to composting often worry about what can be composted. Once you get started, though, you'll soon realize that almost any organic matter will break down in a compost bin. Beginners often stick to vegetables, coffee grounds, grains, and materials from your yard. Greens and Browns Compostable materials are often broken down into greens (nitrogen-based materials) and browns (carbon-based materials). Your compost bin doesn't need a perfect balance to be effective, but using some of each type of organic matter will produce the best results. Too much brown matter in your bin will be hard to decompose. Too much green matter will make the compost slimy. Here are some examples of great carbon and nitrogenous materials to put in your bin: Brown:
- dry leaves
- wood chips
- fruits and vegetables
- weeds from the yard
- fresh grass clippings
- coffee grounds
Maintaining the compost pileTo create a good environment for decomposition you'll need three things: heat, moisture, and air. This makes compost bins relatively low-maintenance, but here are some tips to speed up the decomposition process: Heat In the spring and summer, nature will provide this for you, but having an enclosed bin that receives plenty of sunlight will help you out. Moisture The bacteria that are doing the composting in your bin require water to live. But too much water will make your bin a slimy mess. Shoot for moist, not wet. Air A compost bin needs to be aerated to blend the ingredients together. You don't need to turn it often; once every two to three weeks is fine. Now that you know all you need to about making great compost for the lawn and garden, it's just a matter of mixing it in and reaping the rewards. Mix compost into garden soil and lawns early in the spring and in the fall after harvest to keep the soil healthy year-round.
Getting married could easily set you back tens of thousands of dollars, especially if you pay for a large or extravagant wedding. To save money after you get married, you could be tempted to move in with your parents. But, that would cramp your style and put a dent in your romantic life. Fortunately, you have options.
Renting your way into a great starter home
A good first step to getting your own house right after you marry is to rent a house. Renting a house is a good way to ease into homeownership. It's also a way to live in your own home without taking on the costs of repairs or homeowner's association fees.
If you take this route, each time something needs to be fixed at the property, ask the landlord or homeowner to tell you how much repairs on the house cost. This will give you an idea of how much it really cost to own a home.
Fall in love with the house? Ask the landlord if you can enter a rent-to-own agreement. Try to get the rent that you have already paid on the house taken off the total cost of the house.
Check out these other great starter homes
Renting a house is a great starter home for newly married couples because it gives couples a time to learn without forcing newlyweds to take on debt. Other great starter home options for newlyweds include:
- Small house - Tiny houses are trending. You could save big with a small house. As with any house, get the home inspected, price compare and make sure that the house has enough space to accommodate your personal needs and likes.
- Foreclosed home - Partner with a realtor who has bought and sold more than a dozen foreclosed homes. Ask realtors what to expect from the process before you get started. As a tip, you generally won't get to negotiate the price on the house. You'll also be responsible for repairs, so get the house inspected.
- Buy a house from someone you know - If a relative, friend or colleague is selling their home, see if they will give you a deal. For example, they might let you keep the refrigerator and stove and oven or the washer and dryer for free.
- Older house - Be open to buying an older home. You could get lots of space at a lower price.
Depending on where you live, there could be more than four to five different ways to buy a house as a newlywed. If you work for a financial services company, check with your people manager or human resources specialist to see if you can get a mortgage through them at a reduced rate. Also, check with your lender to see if you can get a reduced rate mortgage if you have current or prior military service.
Be honest about your finances. Avoid taking on more mortgage than you can afford. After all, you want to enjoy your first home. As newlyweds, you also want to enjoy deepening your relationship. The last thing that you want is to take on too much debt, exposing your new marriage to undue stress.