Tag Archives: saving

Downsizing Your Expenses: What Can You Do To Cut Costs?

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Downsizing Your Expenses: What Can You Do To Cut Costs?

In these tough economic times, it is more important than ever to be mindful of your expenses. If you are finding yourself in a situation where you need to downsize your spending, don’t panic! There are a number of things that you can do to help ease the transition. In this post, we will discuss some tips on how to reduce your expenses without sacrificing too much quality of life. Follow these steps, and you will be on your way to financial stability in no time:

Take a Closer Look at Your Budget:

The first step to reducing your expenses is to take a close look at your budget. Where are you currently spending the majority of your money? Are there any areas where you can cut back? For example, if you are spending a lot on eating out, try cooking more meals at home. If you have a gym membership that you never use, cancel it and start working out for free at home or in the great outdoors! Once you have identified some areas where you can reduce your spending, it will be easier to make the necessary cuts.

Get Rid of Unnecessary Subscriptions and Memberships:

Another way to save money is to get rid of any unnecessary subscriptions or memberships. Do you really need that cable TV package with 500 channels that you never watch? Chances are, you can live without it. Ditch the gym membership that you never use and cancel any magazine subscriptions that you no longer read. These are all expenses that can be easily eliminated from your budget without having a major impact on your life.

Cut Back on Shopping and Entertainment:

If you want to save money, you will need to cut back on shopping and entertainment. Instead of going out to eat every weekend, try cooking at home more often. Go for a walk or bike ride instead of going to the movies. There are plenty of ways to have fun without spending a lot of money. Get creative and see how much you can save!

Save on Transportation Costs:

Transportation costs can add up quickly so it is important to find ways to save in this area. If you live in a city, try using public transportation instead of driving everywhere. This can save you a lot of money on gas and parking fees. If you live in a rural area, see if carpooling with friends or family is an option. There are many ways to reduce your transportation costs, so do some research and see what works best for you.

Moving to a More Affordable Home:

One of the most drastic ways to reduce your expenses is to move to a more affordable home. If you are currently renting an apartment, see if you can find a cheaper place to live. Looking into apartments for rent or finding a roommate to split the cost of rent with can be great ways to reduce your monthly expenses. If you own your home, consider downsizing to a smaller house or condo. This may not be an option for everyone, but it is something to consider if you are looking for ways to save money.

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Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

These are just a few tips on how to downsize your expenses without a ton of sacrifice. If you are struggling to make ends meet, try implementing some of these suggestions and see how much they can help! Remember, every little bit counts when it comes to saving money.

Featured Image By: Andre Taissin on Unsplash

How To Be Greener In Your Kitchen

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How To Be Greener In Your Kitchen

Most of your resources are used in the kitchen so cooking and food preparation is a great place to start when thinking about sustainability. You can begin your eco-friendly journey with some simple adjustments and using things in different ways throughout the home. Let’s get started:

Use Organic Ingredients:

Foods grown organically contain higher levels of healthy nutrients like antioxidants than foods grown conventionally. Additionally, when you only eat organic foods, your symptoms may lessen or even disappear if you have allergies to certain foods, substances, or preservatives. Organics also contain no pesticides and are sustainable. One of the more sustainable ingredients you can use is hemp oil and rosin extract. These contain CBD but not THC and are, therefore, legally used as ingredients in cannabis food like gummies and flavored chocolate.

Ditch Plastic:

You are probably already aware of how harmful single use plastics are. Dangerous items like food containers, drink can rings, and clothing containing micro plastics are destroying the oceans and wildlife. Over one million seabirds and about 100,000 marine animals are killed yearly by plastic products. Thankfully, switching to more environmentally friendly products is simpler than ever. You could, for instance, use glass jars for storage, paper bags, or boxes for food containers. And only purchase brands that you know use sustainable manufacturing practices.

Replace Older Appliances:

Your energy use and carbon emissions will significantly reduce when you replace older appliances. White goods are an excellent example, like your refrigerator, washer, and dishwasher. This is due to how energy hungry these devices have historically been. Newer models from reliable manufacturers are significantly more effective and adhere to current energy and carbon standards. Switching to more recent models will help reduce carbon emissions significantly. Additionally, you will save a lot of money on your energy bills.

Switch to Natural Cleaners:

Many cleaners for the kitchen and bathroom are made with hazardous materials. In addition, some of the most well known brands have zero sustainability. Fortunately, major producers like Unilever now offer environmentally friendly variations of their popular products and are making strides in changing their manufacturing processes.

Use Renewable Fuels for Cooking:

The oven is the most crucial piece of kitchen equipment. Cooking enhances flavor but, more importantly, it also eliminates moisture that contains bacteria. In order to produce the necessary heat, cookware needs a heating source. Here are some of the greenest cooking fuels:

  • Propane gas is much cleaner and more economical than mains gas.
  • Methane is clean, efficient, and abundant as an energy source.
  • LPG is a mixture of fuels, so it has reduced reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Biofuels are made from food waste and are reused and burned cleanly.
  • Electric can help reduce your emissions if you source renewable energy suppliers.

There are numerous options for clean burning, renewable home cooking. Making the switch will significantly improve your household’s sustainability.

Learn About Portion Control:

Food waste is one of the biggest sources of landfill waste and carbon emissions. Every year, nearly seven million tons of food are wasted in the UK alone, costing the country over Β£10 billion. If you waste food, buy in portion controlled increments and divide ingredients equally. This is easier to achieve if you plan your weekly or monthly menu and buy the necessary ingredients. Additionally, cooking for your family results in cost savings because you won’t need to purchase unnecessary extras. Or you can subscribe to a meal service like Hello Fresh or Gousto.

Recycle Everything You Can:

All non-recyclable materials are disposed of in landfills. Some waste, like food, can be used to make biofuels. However, most of the rubbish you discard cannot be processed unless processing plants know what it is. Sorting your trash beforehand can significantly assist processing plants. For instance, throwing away a glass bottle in your regular trash can will end up in a landfill and worsen the situation. But if you put it in the right bin, it will be processed for recycling after it is collected. Some countries also fine you for not sorting your waste.

Take Note of What You Can Reuse:

You might not realize it, but most items in your kitchen can be reused. Using reusable carrier bags when grocery shopping alone can help reduce plastic use. In addition, plastic takeout containers work well for storing items in the refrigerator, like cheese. And when you go jogging or hiking, you might think about using recycled plastic bottles as water containers. It’s also important to note that purchasing high quality pots and pans lowers costs. Copper pans from reputable brands will last forever if you look after them.

Not only is living a greener lifestyle better for the environment but it is, often times, better for your wallet too. Use the tips above to help you get started today!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Black Friday Shopping Tips

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Black Friday Shopping Tips

Hello! Yesterday we discussed some tips and tricks to help get you prepared for Thanksgiving, which means that it’s time to talk about Black Friday shopping today. Black Friday is going to look different this year with COVID-19 still being so prevalent so it’s important to have a game plan to safely and successfully complete your shopping. Let’s get to it:

Do Your Research:

Lots of major retailers are no longer going to be open on Thanksgiving evening which I think is great. Or, some of the shops might not be open period due to COVID. When you’re planning your shopping route, make sure you consult the websites of your favorite stores to see when they are open, if at all, so you don’t end up at a store that’s closed.

Don’t forget to look into the COVID precautions of where you’re going too. They might be limiting the amount of people allowed in the store and masks could be needed for entry. Pack a couple of extra masks with you and dress in warm layers in case you have to wait outside of the store until you can go in.

Sign Up For Rewards Programs:

So many different stores have rewards programs that you can sign up for to save money and this is something that you can usually do online. If the stores you’re going to offers a rewards program, it never hurts to sign up for it. Some stores might be offering special Black Friday deals specifically for those who are part of their rewards club. This might include early or prolonged access to Black Friday deals and an extra percentage off of your purchase.

Check Out Cyber Monday:

In many cases, you don’t have to step foot in a store to get great post Thanksgiving deals. Due to COVID, many retailers are probably going to be offering the same deals online as they are in store. If you prefer to stay home and aren’t seeing any sales online on Black Friday, hold off until Cyber Monday. Monday is, traditionally, the day when you can save a bundle with your online shopping so don’t fret if you aren’t seeing what you would like to buy on promotion immediately.

Don’t Forget Small Business Saturday:

It is always important to support your local businesses, especially now more than ever. Your favorite local boutiques, eateries, and storefronts are sure to be offering great deals on Small Business Saturday. This is an amazing way to pick out unique gifts for those on your shopping list (Or yourself!) and give back to the small business owners in your area.

Safety First:

We have already discussed looking into the COVID precautions for Black Friday and now we will be talking about a different kind of safety. No matter how good the deal, nothing is worth getting into a fight over! If this should happen to you, just let it go for your safety’s sake. And, please, if you see anyone hurt or who has fallen: HELP THEM.

Whether you’re shopping Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday, use the tips above for maximum efficiency and maximum savings!

Do you participate in any of the mentioned shopping days? What is the best deal you have gotten if so? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Simple Ways To Cut Down Home Ownership Expenses

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Simple Ways To Cut Down Home Ownership Expenses

Owning a home is a significant investment move. But, unfortunately, the costs involved do not end after your final payment. Whether you paid fully for your home or working with a mortgage, you will still face various home ownership expenses. Some of these are pretty much predictable, while others can take you by surprise. And unless you already have some financial cushioning, these expenses can be a source of stress. So, are you drowning under these waves of home ownership expenses? Use these tips to cut down on how much you spend:

Switch utility and insurance providers:

Suppose you’ve used the same home insurance company, utility provider, or electric company for over a year. In that case, it’s time to shop the market for alternatives, as you may be overpaying at this point. You will be pleasantly surprised by how much utility providers and home insurance providers vary in their price range. Take the time to check other providers and compare their prices and other special offers they may have, and settle for the ones that give you the best deal in terms of service and price.

Try refinancing your mortgage loan:

If you have a mortgage on your property and it’s eating chunks off your income, then you might want to consider refinancing. Thankfully, getting a refinance mortgage quote is easy, as you can do it online. According to some experts, the average interest rate on a fixed-rate loan for 30 years is 3.14%. So, if your current rate is even a fraction higher than that, opting for a mortgage refinancing could help save you hundreds of dollars every month.

You can also speak with a mortgage broker to determine what rate you can qualify for if you refinance or get a refinance mortgage quote online. However, you need to note that refinancing may come with some fees. So, be sure that you intend to own your home long enough to recoup the expenses saved.

Generate income from your home:

An effective way to reduce your expenses is to generate income from your property. Depending on where you are, the size of your home, or your special interests, various options are available to you. One option is to rent out rooms in your home. You can also rent out spaces in your yard for small home dwellers looking for land space for their tiny homes. Another option is to register for short stay hospitality services like Airbnb or rent out storage space in your garage.

Find out if you can reduce your property taxes:

There is always a chance that your property tax is not being assessed correctly. And that’s not all, as you can also enjoy tax breaks for various reasons. Property tax is probably one of your most significant expenses as a homeowner, so it pays to find if there are tax breaks for you or if you’re overpaying.

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Saving money where you can when it comes to your home will save you lots of stress in the long run. These extra savings will sure come in handy for home ownership surprise expenses that can’t be avoided!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Tree Of Life Serum Haul

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Tree Of Life Serum Haul

Hello! Amazon has stopped selling my beloved Eclat Vitamin C serum so I had to try something new. I knew I wasn’t going to find as good of a price as the Eclat at a mere seven dollars and didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg for a new serum. After looking through all of the different options on Amazon, I decided to go with the Tree Of Life Vitamin C serum as it was still fairly cheap at ten dollars and got good reviews.

I like the Tree Of Life serum well enough and needed to restock my supply. This is when I found an amazing deal on Amazon that I wanted to share with you. I got a set of three full sized serums for twenty dollars which made for a buy two get one free sale. It was such a great price that I had to get two sets! Check it out:

When I opened my boxes of serum, I was surprised to see a Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid serum as well as a Vitamin C one. I thought I was getting three Vitamin Cs in the set! This is okay, though, because I am always up for trying new products and a little Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid never hurt anyone. Besides, you just can’t beat the price.

As I mentioned in my September 2021 Finishes post, the Tree Of Life serum is good in its own way. It is thicker in texture but still absorbs quickly and my skin does look more radiant. My major qualm with the product isn’t the product itself but the dropper! It is so short that once you have used almost two thirds of the bottle, you have to start pouring it out into your hands. This is pretty inconvenient but what do you expect from a ten dollar serum?

I am looking forward to trying out my new serums by Tree Of Life and if I like both the Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid, I think I found my go to purchase on Amazon when I need more!

Where do you get the best deals on skin care? What is your favorite Vitamin C serum? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Budget Friendly Shopping For Your Home

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Budget Friendly Shopping For Your Home

Shopping for furniture, accessories, and appliances for your home or apartment can be so costly that it almost seems easier to leave things as is rather than updating or upgrading. Believe you me, I get it! However, I also know how effective budget shopping can be because I furnished my entire apartment on secondhand items. Today, we are going to explore a few different budget friendly options for your next home makeover:

Secondhand Stores:

The most effective eco and budget friendly option for making upgrades in your home is, hands down, second hand shopping. Buying secondhand is amazing because you are repurposing old things and preventing them from being dumped into a landfill. Your local Goodwill could be a treasure trove of unique furniture and accessories that you didn’t know you needed. This is also an ideal option for people who don’t want their homes to look like everyone else’s because of all of the cool accessories and knick knacks you can find. My art wall in my apartment is completely made from old pieces of art that I bought at the Goodwill.

Facebook Marketplace:

Another great option, similar to secondhand stores, is the Buy, Sell, Trade marketplaces on Facebook. This could be perfect if you are looking for used appliances for sale, furniture, or other odds and ends. The beauty of the Facebook Marketplace is that once you find the replacement for something in your house, you can list the no longer needed item and make some extra cash too. πŸ˜€

Always remember if you are purchasing from someone selling on a marketplace type website that your safety is paramount. It is best practice to meet up in a public location like the parking lot of a busy grocery store or coffee shop. You can never be too careful.

Apps:

The OfferUp app is a virtual garage sale where you can both post items for sale and make purchases. I haven’t used this app in a while but I have had a lot of luck in the past selling things on it. I have seen everything on OfferUp from cars, appliances, outdoor equipment, and clothing. The nice part about this app is that it categorizes all of the items on there which will really help narrow down your searches for something specific. You definitely don’t get this luxury at a local thrift store.

Yard Sales:

Summer is the best season for people to host yard sales due to the promise of good weather so now is a great time to do some browsing in your local neighborhoods. It might be a mixed bag but it is another option to save some money while making purchases for your home. You all know the old saying of one man’s trash!

Making updates to your home doesn’t have to break your bank. Get started with the ideas above and see how much you can save today!

Sephora Haul

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Sephora Haul

Hi! During my birth month of June, I love taking advantage of all of the free birthday gifts from the various rewards programs that I am signed up for. Between mine and Johnny’s double birthdays and our wedding this past month, I had all but forgotten about getting my freebie on until it was almost too late. While I missed out on the day of my birthday freebies, I placed an order with Sephora just in time to receive my gift from them.

I was in desperate need of more Better Than Sex mascara and I also bought two eyeshadow palettes to play around with. The palettes are absolutely fabulous so be on the look out for swatches soon! Equally as fabulous, is the fact that I also got five free items with this order. πŸ˜€ Check out my Sephora Haul:

The Haul:

  • 2 Better Than Sex mascaras by Too Faced
  • Le Macaron palette by Violet Voss
  • Rare Beauty palette by Selena Gomez
  • LANEIGE birthday gift set (FREE!)
  • Innisfree Pore Clearing Clay Mask (FREE!)
  • GlamGlow BrightMud exfoliating treatment (FREE!)
  • Volition Snow Mushroom Water Serum sample (FREE!)
  • Korres Pomegranate Resurfacing Mask sample (FREE!)

It took me a while to get hip to Sephora and I could never justify buying anything from there while shopping in store because they never have any promotions. Online shopping, however, is a totally different story! Sephora offers free shipping with purchases over fifty dollars, two free samples per order, and promotional freebies with purchases over twenty-five dollars. I don’t order with Sephora very often but I make the most of it whenever I do, as you can see!

Multiple free items per order make me feel like I am getting way more bang for my buck and I cannot wait to pamper myself with all of my new face masks. I am also very excited to test out my new palettes. After getting my makeup done professionally for my wedding, it inspired me to be more adventurous with my makeup. It will be fun to try colors that are way different than the three that I alternate between (lol) and I know my sister will be proud because she always makes fun of me for that. πŸ˜€

Tomorrow, we are going to take a closer look at the LANEIGE birthday gift with three test size products. Then, it will be onto Face Mask Festivities and eyeshadow swatches galore! Keep it posted. ❀

Which store offers the best online promotions or rewards programs? What are your thoughts on any of the products above if you have used them? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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TJMaxx Skin Care Haul

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TJMaxx Skin Care Haul

Hellooo! Today we are going to finish up my TJMaxx Haul by discussing some skin care that I couldn’t pass up. I know, I know – I literally just got a bunch of skin care from Amazon but when in Rome… Or in TJMaxx! Despite an overflowing beauty stock pile, I have no issue buying products that I know for a fact I am going to use. So, I ended up purchasing the following old favorites and new to me face washes:

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love face scrubs and it has been a long while since I used one. I was tickled to find St. Ives scrubs for only three dollars at TJs and I considered it a steal as they are usually around five bucks at full price stores. The Apricot scrub by St. Ives was one of the first skin care products that I can remember trying as a teenager and it always hits right in the nostalgia whenever I use it. The Apricot and Coconut & Coffee scrubs will be great in the summer while the Oatmeal one will be soothing for dry winter skin. You can’t beat three scrubs for under ten dollars!

Pre-pandemic, I was using SkinLab products purchased from TJMaxx exclusively. I have always been highly impressed with their skin care and was paying seven dollars or so for the moisturizers and eye gels. During the pandemic, I didn’t do any in store shopping that wasn’t grocery related and turned to Amazon for my skin care needs. I was so disappointed to see that my SkinLab products were priced at twenty dollars and once I used up the SkinLab brand items I had, I never bought them again.

While TJs didn’t have my favorite SkinLab moisturizers, they did have gel cleansers in the Lift & Firm and Revitalize & Hydrate formulas. This was the first time I saw SkinLab cleansers at TJMaxx and, obviously, I had to give them both a shot since I’m writing about it now! I haven’t tried a new to me product in so long and am eager to test out these cleansers. I have a feeling that they are going to be incredibly refreshing in the morning and I think the colors are so pretty too! πŸ˜€

Every TJMaxx trip with my mom is my favorite but the one from this haul is very high in the ranks. We had the best time shopping together and I can’t wait to do it again! ❀

What is your favorite skin care brand? Do you remember the first skin care product you tried? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Bath & Body Works Semi Annual Sale Haul

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Bath & Body Works Semi Annual Sale Haul

Hello! The Bath & Body Works semi annual sale is like a siren call and, whether I need new bath and body care goodies or not, I always end up doing a little shopping. This past weekend, I met my friend Danielle at Summit Mall for an outing and I showed up early enough to run into B&BW beforehand to make some purchases. I got eleven items for under thirty bucks with a total savings of one hundred and two dollars. Talk about a steal! Check it out:

The Haul:

  • 2 Champagne Apple & Honey shower gels
  • 2 Pearberry shower gels
  • 2 Pretty As A Peach shower gels
  • 1 Raspberry Tangerine body spray
  • 1 Pretty As A Peach body spray
  • 1 Market Peach hand soap
  • 1 Boardwalk Vanilla Cone hand soap
  • 1 travel size Warm Vanilla Sugar shower gel (Free!)

I know what you all are thinking… Sarah, did you really need all of the above? And my answer is YES, yes, a thousand times yes! When it comes to my beauty stock pile, my motto is the more the merrier and why not buy products that I know I am going to use at a fraction of the cost? I exclusively use the shower gel, hand soap, and body spray from B&BW and if I can get a great deal on it, I am going to stock up.

Not only is my bath and body care hoard good for me, it’s especially beneficial during gift giving occasions as well. If I feel like whatever I am gifting needs a little something extra, I am happy to add in a goodie or two from Bath & Body Works to sweeten the pot. After this haul, I am thinking that I will be good for bath and body care products for close to a year…

The only reason I didn’t buy more? I knew the bags were going to be so heavy while shopping with Danielle that I restrained myself and I’m glad I did. Toting around the purchases above for over two hours was a work out!!

Which store has the best sales? What do you have in your beauty stock pile? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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How to Easily Brighten Up Your Home On a Budget

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How to Easily Brighten Up Your Home On a Budget

If your home is looking a little dull, what are some of the things you can do to brighten it up without spending much? If you want to get creative with your living space but don’t have a huge budget, there are plenty of ways that you can change the look and feel of your house without breaking the bank. Here are a few suggestions for easy ways to brighten up your home on a budget:

Paint the Walls:

A fresh coat of paint can significantly brighten up space and, when on a budget, you don’t have to work on the entire house but can paint one or two walls in each room. Make sure to choose bright colors that coordinate well with your decor. For a more professional outcome, consult interior painting companies. You’ll make fewer mistakes and end up with satisfactory results. For affordable color schemes, try pastels or choose a single color for the whole space.

Add Plants or Flowers:

Plants add life to any setting and are an affordable option when livening up space. You can also use plants and flowers to hide out-of-place furniture in your living room, hallway, or kitchen. Choose vibrant flowers that will make the space feel fresh, new, and elegant. Flowers and plants also make a room look expensive without spending a fortune. If you have some extra time, try planting some vegetables in containers for decoration inside the house. For the best results, place the plants at strategic locations near the windows and the front door to give your home a more natural look.

Buy New Curtains or Rugs:

One of the easiest ways to change a room is by replacing the curtains with new lighter or brighter ones. Switching your rugs up is another good option too. If you can’t replace all of the curtains or rugs in your house, start with the ones in the living room, then move on to other rooms such as bedrooms and kitchen. The most used rooms should come first.

White and Off-White DΓ©cor:

Just about any color scheme looks good with white or off-white dΓ©cor, so it’s a great way to create a new look without spending much money. To get the most out of your investment, buy furniture, wallpaper, and artwork in coordinating but bright colors. This will make your home feel more spacious and radiant.

Lighting:

Think about the colors of light bulbs you use. Warm-colored light will create a cozy atmosphere that can make any room feel more inviting. This type of lighting is better in rooms for relaxation like the living room and bedroom. Brighter white lighting is good for rooms with high activity like the kitchen. You may also want to consider adding decorative lighting like table lamps or wall sconces for an even softer glow.

Refresh Carpets:

Vacuum and shampoo carpets, then add a deodorizer to keep smells at bay and refresh the color so they don’t look dull. If you’ve had the carpets for a while, replacing them eventually would be a worthwhile investment.

As you will realize, these suggestions don’t require much money and most of them are easy DIY projects – no local professional required!

Featured Image By: Pexels