Category Archives: For Your Information

Jetting Off To Sunnier Climates? Make Sure Your Home Is Safe and Secure

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Jetting Off To Sunnier Climates? Make Sure Your Home Is Safe and Secure

With January and February out of the way (easily the dullest and most depressing months of the year!) many of us are looking forward into 2017 and planning some of the fun things that we want to do. For some, this will mean an annual summer holiday, a week or two of great weather, delicious food, and plenty to see and do. However, as a homeowner, there’s always the major worry of home security when you go away. When your property is left unoccupied for a period of time, it dramatically increases your risk of a break in. Here are some of the ways that you can protect against this and get your home safe and secure by the time your summer vacation rolls around:

Get a Burglar Alarm Installed: If you don’t already have a burglar alarm installed, this should be high on your list of priorities. Not just useful for vacations but for day to day use, too. Did you know that most burglaries take place in the daytime? Being able to set the alarm when you go to work will thwart thieves who simply won’t stick around once the noise starts going off. It’s worth doing some research on the best home security systems and seeing which one suits you best.

Do you want an alarm that’s monitored? This means that if it goes off the security system call you (to see if it’s a false alarm) and if it’s not, they call the police. There’s a charge for this, but if you believe yourself to be especially high risk, it’s a good investment. Do you need an alarm which can be used with pets? This means that you can set it and your cat or dog won’t set it off. Either way, having a look at what’s on the market is your first step.

Invest in a High Quality CCTV System: CCTV is useful as it deters burglars (who want to minimize their risk of being caught) and if someone does try it, you have evidence. CCTV is also useful if you have vehicles outside of your home because if any damage or theft occurs, you will have video proof of what happened. Go with a system that records footage to a cloud-based server. That way if someone breaks into your home, they can’t just take the computer that the footage is stored on. You need a camera that records clearly because police won’t accept grainy recordings if you ever need to use it as evidence.

Consider Smart Lighting: ‘Smart home’ devices are becoming increasingly popular. Lighting is particularly useful from a home security perspective as it allows you to turn the lights in your home on and off without you being there. You control everything from an app on your phone so that you can give the illusion of someone being home and moving around in the property. Alternatively, you could use classic timer switches which are a much cheaper option. You can set lamps, televisions, and radios to go on and off at different times to further enhance the “I’m here but secretly I’m not” appearance.

Featured Image By: Wikimedia

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Make Immediate Savings On Those Home Bills

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Make Immediate Savings On Those Home Bills

For a lot of us, we only truly see how much we’re spending when we decide to put together a budget. We might think that we’re doing well and then suddenly realize just how much we’re spending on standard household bills. If you want to free up a little cash, there’s a good chance that those bills are the place where you could do just that. Spending less per month isn’t too difficult, either. A few changes and an investment or two could result in you keeping more money per month:

Things Are Heating Up: It should be no surprise that among the biggest bills for most people are those pesky heating bills. Especially in the winter, they can be gigantic. The same goes for keeping the home cool in the summer. But while you do need to control those temperatures, you don’t necessarily need to spend quite as much on it. For one, you should look at how well airflow travels through the home. Air vents in the home clogged by dust can stop the heat from traveling through the home, just as it can stop the cool from dispersing when you’ve got the AC on. Thoroughly insulating the home is important, too. Make sure that you caulk any sources of drafts in the home and pay particular attention to the roof. A missing tile or two won’t only get in the way of your attempts to control your environment but are a major risk of damp and mold, too.

Get Appliance Savvy: Heating and cooling aren’t all that can impact the energy bill. All the different appliances and electronics have a big effect, as well. If you need any new appliances or fixtures, then you should do your research. Things that you can look into include spotting a more efficient fridge thanks to Energywise rating labels to giving traditional bulbs the boot for LED lighting, instead. You also need to know when it’s a good idea to replace an old appliance. Things begin to work less than their best over time and that goes for their ability to stay energy efficient, too. It’s an investment, but one that will save you more money in the long-term.

Give Your Service Providers A Call: Besides the resources that you use to keep the home livable, you have to think about all of those other little services and subscriptions that you have, too. Take a look over your bank statements for the past month. It’s easy to forget that you might have subscribed to that video service or this audio book library. If you’re not using them, it might be time to call up and cut them off. Then, there are those deals like your TV packages and internet providers. With a bit of research, you should figure out if there are any better deals on the market. If there are, you don’t necessarily have to make the switch. You can use that as your bargaining chip to call up and negotiate yourself a better deal (it works like a charm!).

A closer look at just where you’re spending your household money can show you the upgrades, purchases, and even phone calls that can result in you keeping a lot more cash. Let those expenses go unchecked, and you could find them swallowing up most of your budget and spending money.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Homeowner’s Hit List: What Upgrades Should You Make To Your Property This Year?

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Homeowner’s Hit List: What Upgrades Should You Make To Your Property This Year?

Home is where the heart is and every homeowner will be looking for ways to bolster their properties over the coming months. And let’s face it, there are usually two factors that we demand from any upgrade project. Firstly, we want the work to improve our lives. Secondly, we want those improvements to add financial value, too. If your next home upgrade project can achieve both of those things, it’s probably a wise choice. Still struggling for inspiration? Here’s all you need to know:

Give Every Room A Purpose: There’s no greater mistake than letting a room go to waste. You’ve paid good money for your property and you should be eager to make every last inch matter. A decluttering session will certainly add the perception of more space, but nothing will beat repurposing a dormant room. The most likely candidates will be the guest bedroom or the garage. Whether you turn it into a man cave, a she shed, or a second living space doesn’t matter. Giving the space a purpose will surely be better than letting it collect dust. Alternatively, you could look into converting the attic space into a home office. It might cost a little time and money to complete the transformation, but your property value will increase dramatically.

Add Modern Tech: You don’t necessarily need to transform an entire room to breathe new life into the property. Technology and home gadgets have completely transformed the way we interact with our properties. Leaving yours in the past could be reducing your enjoyment and may limit the resale value, too.

First and foremost, you should prioritize the essential comforts of a modern home. A suitable HVAC system, high-pressure shower, and washing machines can all have a telling impact on your daily life. Home audio visual solutions can upgrade the way you interact with the property as a family as well as on an individual basis. Let’s face it; most homeowners will desire that type of advanced tech, too. Having it in place now will make the home more attractive.

Finally, there’s no greater feeling than safety. Investing in home surveillance and other tech-based security could work wonders. In addition to increasing home value, it could reduce your insurance premiums also.

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The bat cave!

Go Green: If your next project can improve your life as well as your finances, then that’s great. But if it can additionally reduce your damage to the environment, then it surely has to be a winning solution. Greener living doesn’t mean you have to become a hippie. It doesn’t even mean that you need to make huge investments like roof solar panels. Small upgrades like eco-friendly toilets and new windows will work wonders for energy bills and emissions. On top of that, you should see the value of your property gain a serious boost.

In the meantime, LED light bulbs and eco-friendly cleaning materials can make a noticeable impact. If nothing else, it will provide another incentive to follow through with those slightly larger planned upgrades.

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Go green!

Featured Image By: Google

Make Your Time-Worn Home Sparkle Like New

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Make Your Time-Worn Home Sparkle Like New

When it comes to retail therapy, shopping for little ways to improve your space – whether furniture or paint – always seems to bring about the flutter of excitement. It’s that chance to renew your space with something wow, whether it’s just a little knick knack or big pieces of new treasure. A piece of something new can make your home feel like it just got a makeover. But what happens a couple of months down the line, when your dog has chewed the sofa cushions, your kid has drawn on the walls, or feet have scuffed the upholstery?

Well, before you tut and head out of the door, ready to spend more money on the same thing, why not learn how you can maintain what you have and help your old house sparkle like new again. All it takes is a little ingenuity and some tender, love and care.

A Little Bit Of Polish: There is no simpler way to make your old wood furniture look brand new than to give it a good old polish. Chances are you haven’t done this in a long time, or ever before, in which case you are going to be blown away by the results. However, before you get started, you are going to need the right polish to get the right finish. As a general rule of thumb, if your furniture is well finished, then use a wax or paste, whereas if your furniture is old teak, then a lot of the time oil alone is the best option.

The Relaxation Room: Yes, we are talking about your bathroom. This is your chance to soak in the tub, relax amongst the bubbles, and escape the stresses of life. However, the simple addition of a house plant isn’t going to be enough. So why not give your bath, basin, and shower a good scrub and really make them sparkle. The other thing you can do to upgrade this sanctuary is to go with some renovations by Tile Regrouting. And then, as a little extra something to make your bathroom pop, hang a big, bright, and gorgeous piece of art on the walls. The results will be stunning.

Care About The Wood: Leave your house and then walk back into the front door. If you are wowed, then that is great. But if it all seems a bit flat, then why not get the oil and wax out and bring your wooden floors back to life. Make them shine. This is the first thing you will see when you come home and it will therefore have a huge role to play in how your house feels. But don’t stop there. Head into the kitchen and look at your counter tops. Chances are that they are plagued with scratches and stains of all sorts. The way to bring them back to life is to get the sandpaper out and rub your tops new. Just make sure that you use some food safe oil to protect them from staining easily and to protect you from getting ill.

Featured Image By: Pexels

Think Spring Guest Bloggers Series Conclusion

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Think Spring Guest Bloggers Series Conclusion

Hello everyone! I hope that all of you enjoyed my Think Spring guest bloggers series and are now looking forward to the wonderful season that is on the horizon. Thank you to all of my amazing guest bloggers that took part in making this series a success and all of you are welcome back on lifewithlilred anytime! BUT WAIT. There’s more…

I mentioned on a previous post that one of my darling friends, Angela, was creating a special spring time fragrance for the series and that still is a go. Unfortunately, we couldn’t tack it on after Nida’s post because Angela had quite a busy month moving into her new home! But, nevertheless, she is experimenting with scents as we speak and there will soon be a gorgeous spring roll on oil on her Etsy shop for my readers. We will also be offering a promo code, as well, so be on the lookout for the post announcing it! Congratulations on your move, Angela!

Thank you again to my guest bloggers and the scent queen herself, Angela, for helping to create such a fun series on my page! What is your favorite season? What is your favorite part of spring? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

5 Gadgets That Can Make Your Life Easier

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Hi everyone and happy weekend! This post is compliments of my friend, Amelia, from thetrustcompass. In a world full of gizmos and gadgets, this article is dedicated to helping you pick out the best new toys possible to make your day to day life a total breeze. Check out Amelia’s author bio and then read on for the latest in the technology that you need ASAP:

Hello, Amelia here from thetrustcompass.com! I am a technology expert and have experience writing for several websites. When it comes to anything technology related, Thetrustcompass is your one stop destination. It has useful posts on a wide range of topics and detailed reviews of products related to technology, outdoor games, and health to help buyers make informed choices and spend their money wisely.

5 Gadgets That Can Make Your Life Easier

Today, more than ever, we are highly dependent on tech gadgets to help us run our life, and luckily, more and more smart products are doing just that. They connect to our phone, so we can operate them remotely, which gives us more time to focus on chores that need winding, or grab a few more minutes of rest and recuperation.

But do all gadgets truly uncomplicate our lives? Yes, cutting-edge phones and 4K TVs are worth drooling over, but are very heavy on the wallet, too. A fitness tracker might help us live healthier, but being constantly nagged by a device isn’t very zen. A drone might aid in capturing some beautiful angles, but only if you’re adept at not crashing it. A smartphone might let you communicate with anyone in the world, but too much social media can be pervasive and pesky. State-of-the-art VR kits and the best 3D pens are taking innovation to a new level, but a good gadget should not only be solving the problem, but also making life easier.

The best tech devices are ones that make some part of our day easier, whether it’s getting ready for work, cooking a meal, sticking to our walks, or just catching the morning news. There are devices that make all of this possible with no more effort on our part than setting up an accompanying app. Below, we’ve rounded up a few gadgets that can add to our day, but don’t demand much in return and none of them will wind up being ‘another thing to worry about’.

1 – Amazon Echo Dot

The Amazon Echo Dot is a hands-free, Bluetooth speaker that can be operated with voice commands. The Dot can be synced with your wireless router and all of your smart devices including Nest and Samsung SmartThings, as well as other wirelessly controlled lights, fans, and sprinklers. You can tell the Dot to “play my music” to stream Prime Music, Spotify, or IHeartRadio through the device, your headphones, or Bluetooth speakers. The Dot will tell you how bad the traffic is, what weather can be expected, and list movie show timings. You can ask the Dot to tell you headlines from sources like NPR, CNN, Bloomberg, and Discovery News while you’re getting dressed, so that you know the latest buzz before you leave the door in the morning. These features help make everyday tasks a little easier. Tring! That’s your Dot reminding you to take that cake out of the oven- it works as an alarm clock, too.

2 – The Universal Switch

With dozens of tech gadgets buzzing in our instant environment, what if we had one super ‘switch of all switches’ that could turn on or off all electrical activity in a second, at our will, and without us getting off the couch?  Enter The Belkin WeMo Insight Switch! This Switch is a standard plug, but on steroids! It plugs into an existing AC outlet, connects to your WiFi network, and then lets you turn on or off whatever is plugged into the outlets, through its app- a lamp, fan, space heater, or what have you. If you suspect a device is using too much energy, you could have it automatically shut down once it hits a certain cost for the day. It even works with Amazon Echo, which is super convenient.

3 – Power Bank

Picture these scenarios: You’re hiking on top of a mountain, taking panoramic shots of the scenic sights, and as you reach the summit, your phone decides it’s time to play dead. Or you’re trying to drive with your phone’s GPS app, and your phone decides to leave you hanging. Chances are, you’ve probably been in a situation where your phone has died at the most inopportune time. That’s why, a portable battery charger, or Power Bank is something that you should definitely invest into. It gives you the freedom and power to power up to three dead devices while you’re out and about and not near a power source. These power banks are small and super-easy to carry. The next time your phone dies before you can call that cab home, you know what you have to do.

4 – Tile

If you’re forgetful or have too many gizmos to keep track of, the Tile Mate is made for you. This little gadget is designed to loop onto or attach to, well, just about anything else you own. Once attached, the tracker sends location data to an app on your phone. If you don’t know where you put your keys, you can send the Tile Mate command to ring. The diminutive Bluetooth tracker can talk with (and remotely ring) your phone from over 100 feet away, telling you exactly where you left your particular item. If you’re worried you might lose something valuable, throw a Tile on it.

5 – Google Chromecast

The Google Chromecast is one of the best ways to use your regular TV as a smart device. The small, circular device plugs into an HDMI port on your television. Once there and connected to your Wireless internet, it can stream a heady range of entertainment apps, such as Netflix, Go, Hulu, and HBO. Just plug it in, pair it with your phone, tap your app’s Cast button, and enjoy. The $35 price-sticker doesn’t hurt, either. If you’ve ever wanted to smarten up your speakers, the Chromecast Audio is just as simple to use. Chromecast comes with thousands of apps and more than 30 million songs and radio stations. Better yet, it includes a mirroring feature so you can beam what’s on your Android phone to the TV.

Get yourself equipped with these smart gadgets and make your life a walk in the park!

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^^^ Thank you again to Amelia for updating my readers on the latest and greatest technology that’s on the market! What is one gadget that you can’t live without? Do you think you could handle a day without your smartphone? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Don’t Let Your Dream Home Become A Nightmare

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Did you fall in love with your new home the moment you pulled up in the driveway? If you’ve bought a new house, and you’re convinced that it’s perfect, the last thing you want is for a dream to become a nightmare. If you’re hoping to create a relaxing retreat where you can chill out and enjoy quality time together, here are some tips to help you steer clear of new home nightmares:

Address Problems As A Priority: If you’ve had a survey done, and it’s flagged up issues, it’s vital to get these problems seen to as a priority. The longer you leave them, the worse they’ll become, and the more you’ll need to spend. If you’ve got loose tiles on the roof, for example, call a few roofing firms, and get some quotes. If you have lots of jobs to do, make a list in order of importance, and tackle the most pressing issues first.

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Pixabay Image

Replace Outdated Systems, Units, and Appliances: When you move into a new home, it’s an ideal opportunity to embrace new technology and make your home more efficient and cost-effective. If you have dated heating systems, electrical appliances or air conditioning units, for example, now is the time to think about replacing them with newer versions. The upfront cost may be significant, but you can save a lot of money in the long-run. You’ll also have peace of mind that you’re not going to end up with a broken furnace in the middle of winter or no air conditioning in the height of the summer.

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Flickr Image

Get a Hold On The Figures: If you’re having work done to your home, make sure that you have a firm handle on the figures. You need to know exactly how much each job will cost so that you can draw up a budget. If you can’t afford to have everything done at once, you can carry out work in stages in order of importance.

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Ballin on a budget

Protect Your Home: Your home is your most important financial asset, so it’s important to do everything that you can to protect it. Even if you plan to move in the next 5 years or so, taking steps to prevent damage will increase your chances of making money when it comes to selling. If you’ve moved to your forever home, protecting it from the outside will prolong its lifespan and save you money. There are various things that you can do to keep your home safe, including weatherproofing it and investing in security measures.

Take a look at www.MountainHomeBuildingProducts.com to find products to protect your home from the elements, and consider installing a home security system. If you live in an area exposed to hurricanes or heavy rainfall, it’s a good idea to take additional steps. You may want to fit shutters or strengthened glass, for example. For more tips, you may find http://www.cbsnews.com/media/10-ways-to-prepare-your-home-for-hurricane-season/ useful.

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 Yikes!!

Nobody wants to move into their dream home only for it to turn into a nightmare. If you’ve bought a house or you’re moved recently, hopefully, these tips and tricks will ensure that you’re blissfully happy in your home for years to come.