23 Tips to Save You Money in the Home and Garden

Benjamin Franklin once said “a penny saved is a penny earned” and to help you save more than a few pennies around the home and garden, below are a number of money saving tips – many of which require minimal effort on your part.

Around the Home:

1. Switch off and unplug your appliances. Too many of us are guilty of leaving our appliances on standby when they’re not in use, yet this is a waste of energy and money. Switching our appliances off and unplugging them has the potential to save up to £30 per year.

Along with switching off, it’s important to make sure you don’t overcharge your appliances – something 49% of us are guilty of according to one energy provider.

2. Keep your fridge and freezer at their optimum temperatures, to ensure the motors do not have to work harder than necessary. The ideal temperature for your fridge is between 3°C and 5°C, whilst for your freezer the temperature should be -18°C.

3. Turn it down. By turning the thermometer for your heating down by just 1°C you have the potential to save roughly £85 – £90 annually on your utility bills, and you’re unlikely to notice the difference in temperature. Turning the water temperature down on your boiler will also help you save money throughout the year.

4. li> Repair broken appliances. It’s all too easy nowadays when an appliance breaks, whether it’s a vacuum cleaner or washing machine, to throw it away and purchase a new one. But you could be wasting money unnecessarily.

Instead, by taking the time to purchase the required spare part and fix the appliance yourself, you can save money and increase your DIY knowledge.

5. 66% of the British population drink tea every day, but many of us when brewing up are wasting money by filling the kettle up with more water than is needed. This unnecessarily requires your kettle to use more energy than required.

Re-boiling the water in your kettle can also impact on the taste of the cuppa, and increase the build up of limescale minerals, which reduce the performance of the appliance. Limit the energy you use each time you make a cup of tea by only using the water you require.

6. Switch to LED bulbs. The initial cost may be slightly more expensive, but the overall savings can be beneficial, with it being suggested that by changing 10 light fittings with 60W bulbs, to 6W LED bulbs will save you close to £240 a year. As an added benefit, LED bulbs come with an estimated life of 20,000 hours.

7. It may sound obvious, but whenever you’re using your washing machine or dishwasher, make sure you do so when there is a full load. This will work out cheaper than running two half loads, as less energy is being used.

8. When doing your laundry, save money by washing on an economy wash which uses less energy, and using tumble dryer balls when drying. The latter helps to generate more space between clothes as they tumble ensuring hot air gets to where it needs to go and reducing the drying time.

9. Cook various vegetables at once, instead of having them cook on different hob rings, use a steamer or segmented pans. The latter enables you to cook various vegetables at once on one ring – saving you energy and money. Steaming your food is also a healthier option as it keeps all the nutrients in!

10. Become wise to your water usage. Did you know, for example, leaving your taps running is quite literally water down the drain? It’s estimated that leaving the tap running as we clean our teeth results in 6 litres of water each minute being wasted. Meanwhile, 5500 litres of water is wasted each year due to a dripping tap, which equates to £18 per year of wasted money.

11. Cut out the drafts from your house, by using draft excluders, letterbox covers and keyhole covers. Each of these simple devices will help keep cold weather out of your home, reducing the chances of you needing your heating on – therefore saving you money.

12. Keep your fridge and freezer well stocked. An almost empty fridge or freezer will see the appliance cooling air, making it work harder. If your fridge or freezer is looking a bit empty, but you don’t plan to go food shopping just yet, fill the space by:

I) using scrunched up newspaper to fill gaps in the freezer.
II) using bottles of water in the fridge.

13. Use your tumble dryer less. Just because the sun isn’t out, it doesn’t mean your clothes won’t dry outside. If the weather is dry, hang the washing out. By limiting the amount of time you use your tumble dryer, you can save anywhere between £30 and £100 each year.

In the Garden:

14. Plant Perennials – these are a great way to save money in the garden as once they’re planted they’ll continue to grow each year. Some perennials which can help your garden become your own little slice of paradise include gaillardia, peonies, daffodils and chrysanthemums.

15. Grow your own fruit and vegetables – the British weather although you may not think it, is great for growing your own fruit and vegetables. Growing your own fruit and vegetables can also help you save money and live a healthier lifestyle.

Some of the easiest fruit and veg to grow in your garden include broad beans, blueberries, asparagus, strawberries and potatoes.

16. Say bye to slugs – slugs can be a nightmare for gardeners, but it is possible to remove them without purchasing slug pellets. Using household products such as beer, coffee grounds and vinegar can remove the threat of slugs from your plants.

17. Stop forking out on fertiliser, but continue to feed your food. There’s no denying that fertiliser is beneficial to plant growth, but it can be expensive. Cut the cost by making your own. This can be done in a few ways:

1) Collect the leaves which cover your lawn each autumn and winter, place them in a bin bag whilst they’re still wet and allow them to rot down. Whilst this will take up to 2 years, it’s a cheaper alternative to purchasing fertiliser.

2) Make your own compost. From food peelings and egg shells, to cardboard and tea bags, all can be added to your own compost bin, which if turned regularly and left to degrade can make excellent fertiliser for your plants without costing you a penny.

18. Use rain water wisely – there’s no hiding away from the weather in the UK, but the rain can be put to good use. By collecting the rain water, you have a continuous source of free water to use throughout your garden and greenhouse.

General:

19. With up to 60% of a home’s energy coming from the boiler, yours could be costing you significant amounts of money. It’s recommended if your existing boiler is at least 15 years old and no longer effective, you should replace it.

Although this will cost you in the short term, in the long term you have the potential to see savings between £190 and £240 a year by switching to a high efficiency condensing boiler.

20. You’d be surprised how much heat is lost through your roof and therefore how much money you’re wasting. But with effective insulation you can help keep your home warmer, your energy consumption down, and your bills lower.

21. Recycle more. You may already be recycling your paper, tin, glass and cardboard waste, but there’s so much more you can recycle. Old cutlery can be turned into coat hooks, CDs can be used in the garden to keep birds off your allotment, and your old vinyl can be turned into wall art, cake stands or fruit bowls.

22. Become internet savvy and take advantage of the multitude of websites available where you can get goods for free or sites where you can swap your unwanted goods for other items.

23. Monitor your energy usage. A simple energy monitor, will help you keep an eye on your current energy usage, how much was used in the past week, month, etc. It’ll also help you find out how much your energy consumption is costing you – enabling you to find ways to cut back, or find those appliances which are using the most energy.

Landscape Ideas Which Give Your Home and Garden a Makeover

A beautiful garden is a work of art. Like all masterpieces a landscape idea needs to have a particular theme and it is important that everything used and done on the site has harmony. A garden includes so many colors and so a well thought plan is what will ensure a beautiful appearance. Landscape garden is a beautiful way to add expression to your creativity and would give the home a personality, a character. Your home and garden must be a reflection of your personality and creative pursuits and interests.

Landscape idea can be based on any theme of your choice. Wagons, small bridges across a small stream, fountains, sculptures, ponds all add a character to the garden and is in itself a wonderful landscape idea. You could stick to a particular theme or combine a few ideas that fit together. There must be beauty and of course practicality in every landscape idea that you choose. The size of the garden, the house and the budget are going to be important factors that would influence the landscape garden decision. Professional help or do it yourself guides would take you a long way in your pursuit for excellence. Professional help would work wonders as you would be able to go ahead with the plans smoothly and the expert would be able to provide a set of ideas and also enlighten you regarding the trends and the latest materials available for landscape garden.

The choice of garden accessories can make a big difference as regards the overall looks and also the budget. Ornamental plants with flowers and colorful leaves, shrubs and trees can add a completely new look to the garden. A landscape garden is indeed a beautiful place where you would love to spend your time. A place for everything and beauty surrounding you at all times, a great landscape idea can actually make life beautiful and worth cherishing.

Over the years a number of materials have been introduced in the market that can give the desired shape to your landscape idea. Stone, marble, granite, wood to numerous man-made materials are available for landscape garden projects to suit every need and budget. The materials used definitely make a big difference. Quality is not one that must be compromised here. However, with a little study and research you would be able to find durable and quality materials that are absolutely budget friendly. A good landscape idea that is executed in a systematic and organized manner can result in a lovely garden that you can truly be proud of. Make it all happen with a step by step landscaping plan in place.

Cane Or Rattan Furniture For Your Home and Garden

Rattan or wicker furniture is made from cane which is a raw material that comes from the stems of large rattans, which are climbing palms found native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australasia. Because cane is a raw material it is tough and durable which makes it an ideal material for indoor and outdoor furniture. The material is also very versatile which means manufacturers can now modify designs to keep it right up today with today’s designs and styles. More and more people are realising the benefits of having cane furniture in their homes and gardens.

The reason cane furniture is ideal for gardens and conservatories is because unlike wood it will not rot or become damaged. It is an ideal material for any environment at any time of the year. If like most people you keep plants in your conservatory then you will find the air will be moist. This would be detrimental on any wood furniture which makes cane or rattan furniture most people’s first choice when it comes to furnishings. Cane will not rot or rust, it is water resistant which means it will last in great condition for years to come.

The beauty of cane furniture is that it offers a timeless look that will last you a very long time. It looks beautiful in conservatories but also not out of place in the living room or any other room of the house. Some of the styles and designs are very contemporary which makes it fit into today’s modern living. Cane is also ideal for outdoor living and can be found in gardens all around the world.

So how do they make it? Well, once the palm is harvested it is then boiled which removes the sap from the bark. This removal of the sap allows the material to have the flexibility properties which makes it easy to mould into various shapes. Once this process is completed the material is then split into thin strips. These strips are then intertwined to make the furniture. Generally the frames of the furniture are made from much larger canes. This whole process is very time consuming and costly which is why quality cane furniture isn’t cheap. However, you are buying furniture that is very easy to clean, will last for years and years, will need very little attention to keep it preserved, with that in mind the cost isn’t that expensive.

Another important aspect which shouldn’t be forgotten is that cane furniture is completely environmentally friendly due to it being made completely naturally without the use any chemicals or wood treatment. This is another hit with consumers as we are all living in a world where environmental products are in the foremost of everyone’s minds.

Starting Up a Home and Garden Franchise

Houses and gardens are places which need just about continual upkeep. In the United kingdom there are actually over 25 million households living in a variety of accommodation which represents a massive potential market to anybody supplying services or products. Additionally, new houses and flats are built yearly which increases this figure continually. Home and Garden franchises chiefly concentrate on providing necessary maintenance services for properties and gardens. Some examples of the varieties of services offered are:-

Utility Franchise opportunities

These are necessary disaster or maintenance services for example Plumbing, Gas and Electrical services. There are also Disaster Management franchise businesses which take care of insurance flood/fire damage to residences.

House Restoration Franchises

These are greatly attractive services for providing some part of your home a ‘face lift’. This might be inside or external door replacements and perhaps a brand new set of cabinet doors on your kitchen cabinets to offer your kitchen the most current look.

Outdoor Franchise businesses

There are a variety of garden upkeep franchise businesses for instance Garden Landscaping, lawn treatment and drive or passageway refurbishment/cleaning. It is possible to see that each one of these services are most desirable to house owners with a number of them being critical emergency response type services. This makes them excellent as franchise opportunities because there’s frequent demand for this type of work to be carried out.

To run this kind of franchise it’s important that you’d enjoy visiting customers homes and meeting others since you are prone to be in recurrent contact with them, whether you are planning a sale or whilst performing a job.

If you ever think that a house and garden franchise opportunity could be a very good option for you then its vital that you study your avenues properly. You can begin by reviewing some of the home and garden franchises you can find in online franchise directories. After making a short list, discover as much as you possibly can concerning the franchise you are interested in, their trade history, background and the folks who run the franchise. Then arrange to meet a couple of of the franchisors to receive some insight into their operations. It’s also beneficial to obtain the contact details for a few of their franchisees to get hold of a little 3rd party outlook on how the franchise system works ‘on the ground’.

It’s also vital that you seek the advice of one of the high street banks. The majority of them have devoted franchise business sections that can inform on financing and could have heard of the franchise business you’re looking to invest in. Probably the most central thing is take some time and ensure you take the very best choice for you. Don’t be hurried, but ensure you feel relaxed and confident with your decision. No business endeavor is assured, but you can maximise your potential for achievement by being as clued-up as possible regarding what you are taking on.