Frugal Fancy

Home Tips for Frugal Living

Author: Kent Davidson (page 2 of 2)

New Window Tinting Applications

Why Tint?

Although applying window film to your windows may seem like an expensive way to decorate your home, there are actually many functional and cost-saving benefits to professional window tinting. If you live in an area with lots of sunlight and receive direct exposure throughout the day, for instance, the sun could be increasing the temperature in your home. This greenhouse effect makes it difficult to keep certain rooms a standard temperature without blasting your air conditioning for the entire day.

In this case, applying a window film can significantly reduce your energy bills. Ever notice how many office buildings in large cities are covered in tinted windows? Having a window as an office wall gives the feel of a larger space, and adding a tinted film reduces sun-related heat issues.

Companies such as High Country Window Tint in Colorado Springs or Solar Solutions in New York City, offer all of the benefits of window tinting with a simple installation process.

How Does Window Film Work?

Solar film works by either absorbing the sun’s rays or reflecting them away from the indoors. Some films are a darker color, and others are able to get the job done with a pale tint. Darker films can offer security and privacy benefits, if that is your purpose in an applique.

What Are The Other Benefits?

There are a couple of other great qualities of window tinting aside from security, privacy, and temperature control (or energy savings). One of the most annoying parts of having a high level of sunlight in your home is a blinding glare that usually hits around sunrise or sunset. Solar film acts like a protective pair of sunglasses that prevents squinting indoors. Window tinting also prevents harmful UV rays that aren’t typically filtered out through glass panes. Finally, a protective film can also keep your carpet and furniture from fading.

Transform A Home With New Replacement Windows

bannerRenewal by Andersen offers the highest quality windows for homeowners contemplating window replacement throughout their homes. Quality replacement windows offer numerous benefits including fewer drafts resulting in lower energy bills. People who want to save money see definite results when they install energy efficient windows.

Transform a Dull Room into a Palatial Masterpiece

casementHomeowners who have lived in the same homes for several years may have grown accustomed to living in dull rooms emitting equally boring atmospheres. Window replacement offers the perfect solution for perking up a living room, bedroom or home office. Renewal by Andersen is a window installation company offering premium custom made windows proudly manufactured in the United States of America with the highest quality materials. People who are ready for changes in their lives need to consider all options and installing new windows is an excellent choice.

When installing replacement windows, people are amazed at the astonishing transformation taking place right before their eyes. A home previously lacking in character suddenly takes on a vivid personality. Instead of overspending the family budget on expensive remodeling, try window replacement as an affordable way to improve the value of a house.

Living with Broken Windows Can Cause Stress

People manage to live in all sorts of living conditions. From messy bedrooms with stuff strewn all over the floors to walls desperately in need of paint, homeowners manage to cope with less than perfect environments. Living in a home with broken, stuck windows may cause stress because homeowners never get any fresh air unless they open their front doors. Instead of living in homes with broken windows, people can choose to install custom built windows.

Imagine a Home Filled with Enchanting Windows

It does not need to cost a fortune to elevate a home to the next level. Window replacement options make it easy to live a life filled with less stress. A small thing such as the ability to open and shut a window offers instant peace of mind. It does not take a great deal of imagination to visualize elegant replacement windows throughout the home. From casement replacement windows to large picture windows, people can choose from a wide array of window styles to complement all the rooms in their homes.

Casement Windows Save Energy

casement (2)For custom built windows offering the ultimate in energy savings, try casement energy efficient windows. Casement windows feature their own self-sufficient seals for preventing unwanted air from entering the home. Another advantage associated with using casement windows is the ability to crank windows open.

Double Hung Windows

doulbe hungVictorians knew and appreciated the beauty created by double hung windows. Providing a traditional look with modernity is a feat accomplished by Renewal by Andersen. When thinking about window replacement, homeowners have many things to consider. People who want to create lasting impressions often choose double hung windows designed with easy cleaning in mind. Simply tilt the windows and clean them until they sparkle.

Choose the Best Materials

Renewal by Andersen is a window installation company offering unique Fibrex® composite material windows combining traditional wood with contemporary vinyl components. Unlike ordinary replacement windows, Renewal by Andersen offers unique custom built windows. With the help of personal consultants, a customer can choose ideal windows ensuring an immediate improvement in the home’s ambiance, environment, and intrinsic value.

How to Stay Frugal with a Credit Card

credit cardsNothing screams “free money!” like a piece of plastic that gets you all the things you want without having to pay for them. Right away, at least. There’s no better way to rack up thousands of dollars in debt on purchases that you may or may not really need than a credit card – and if money is the root of all evil, then surely credit cards are the devil’s right hand. Right?

Though the idea that credit cards are a dangerous tool to mess around with is widely shared, many people still seem to struggle with overwhelming credit card debt. Every month, balances get carried over and added to the next month, creating a snowball of interest payments. So is it actually possible to stay frugal and make wise financial decisions even while regularly using a credit card? Or is it best to just cut up every Visa and MasterCard in our wallets?

With a properly planned budget and a calendar, it is more than possible to keep your credit card balance low and manageable – meaning less interest that you have to pay on top of what you owe. Whether you’re wary of applying for your first credit card, struggling with reducing your principal, or somewhere in between, careful financial management and budget planning are key to judiciously wielding a credit card.

Plan a Monthly Budget

Consider your monthly expenses, and place them into categories – such as groceries, rent, utilities, gas, and entertainment. Estimate how much you spend on each of these categories in a month, and add them up. Subtract this number from your monthly income. If you end up with a negative number, think about how you can reduce your monthly expenses (this typically comes out of the entertainment or “extras” category). If you have money left over – great! Consider placing this extra money into a savings or investment account. Planning a budget may seem elementary, but being aware of where your money goes can help you decide when and how to wisely use your credit card.

Build a Strategy to Pay Off Your Balancebudget

Ideally, you want to keep your balance as close to zero as possible. However, this may not always be possible if you’ve already accumulated some debt. Use your budget to see where you can reduce your expenditures, and put this extra money toward reducing your balance. If you have multiple credit cards, you may want to consider first paying off the card that has higher interest. Paying more than the minimum on your monthly bill will also help to reduce the amount you will owe in interest.

Foreign Transaction Fees

If you’re travelling overseas, keep in mind that many credit card companies charge what is known as a “foreign transaction fee.” This fee can vary between issuing banks: for example, this Henrico credit union charges a 1% fee on all foreign transactions. Fees can often be as much as 2-3% of your purchase – and if you plan on regularly using your credit card while abroad, you will be in for a surprise when your bill arrives. When travelling out of the country, contact the bank that issued your credit card to see what fees are involved. If there’s a fee, consider using cash or a credit card that does not charge a fee.

Bonus Tip: Review Your Statements Frequently

Identity theft is a reality – be sure to check your credit statements frequently and report any suspicious or inaccurate charges immediately.

It can be tempting to use a credit card recklessly. However, with careful budget planning and using common sense, it’s more than possible to use a credit card to your advantage and build or repair valuable credit history. That being said – if you know that you can’t reasonably use a credit card, or if your debt is unmanageable, it may be best to use only cash or a debit card for your purchases.

DIY Carpet Cleaning Tricks That Save You Money

baby walking

Reason For Carpet Cleaning

In my home, I make sure that everything is extra clean and in tip-top shape. I have two lovely children, ages 2 and 5, and I want to keep our house free of bacteria, germs, mold, and allergens so my family can live healthily. One of the first places I start to attack are the carpets and rugs. I bought this house in Alexandria, VA about three years and there has been lots of foot traffic coming in out of the house. We have held family reunions here every year, many Christmas parties, and our pool in the back is a hot spot in the neighborhood. Below I have revealed to you some my favorite carpet cleaning tips.

woman cleaning carpetVacuuming

To keep a clean home, I make sure to vacuum all of the carpets at least once a week. One trick I found, to freshen up the place, is to prepare a homemade powder to help lift any unwanted odors. This dry clean mix is comprised of baking powder, bay leaves, corn flour, and your favorite potpourri or dried flowers. Crumble all of this and mix it well, then sprinkle it across all of your rugs and carpets. You can use a broom to work it in, then let it sit for about 30 to 45 minutes. After it has had a chance to deodorize, vacuum up everything and enjoy your fresh carpets.

Stain Removal

If a good carpet stain removal solution is what you came looking for then here are some great DIY mixtures to try out in your home. I have personally used all of these and some work better with different stains. It’s important to use a little at first, then wait to see results before you begin to use it on the entire stain. The first mix is a very simple mix that involves using Windex and warm water. The ammonia in the glass cleaner will help work out the stain without leaving a soapy residue. If this doesn’t work then some of these other carpet cleaning solutions carpet cleaning by handmay help. This next one is a classic method that has been used for many years and involves mixing equal parts of vinegar and baking soda. When mixed well it turns into a paste which can be diluted with warm water. Now you can take this solution and scrub it in circular motions across the stain. Let it rest for a few minutes then wash it up with warm water. If that doesn’t work than our last solution surely will. You must mix one gallon of water with 1/2 a cup of home cleaner, 1/2 a cup of fabric softener, and 1 cup of ammonia. This will not only remove all unwanted stains, but it will also help soften the carpets. This solution can also be put in a carpet cleaner machine to make the process easier.

If All Else Fails…

If it seems that all of your efforts are getting you nowhere and your carpets are just not turning out the way you planned, then call in the professional. Make sure to check out what businesses are the best carpet cleaning companies in NOVA. When you find one that suits you make sure to check out their website before calling. Sometimes they offer promotional deals that can only be found online! Good luck folks and remember, “Save Money, Stay Clean!”

How to Avoid Expensive Car Repairs

It’s no surprise that cars are as expensive as they are. We use them every day to get us to and from work, take our children to school, shelter us from the elements, and protect us from potentially life-threatening accidents. We want our cars to be high-quality machines, and maintaining a superior level of performance unfortunately involves routine repairs and service. But when necessary repairs and maintenance become too frequent, it can take a major toll on our bank accounts. To avoid preventable auto repairs that will set you back financially, consider these simple tips. When you’re still driving that sedan or sports utility vehicle 15 years from now, you’ll be glad that you did.

mechanic changing a car wheel.Routine Maintenance and Preventive Care

The owner’s manual for your car should also include a maintenance schedule. This schedule will help you to stay on track with necessary maintenance. Taking preventive measures will ensure fewer costly repairs and potential safety hazards in the future.

Get Problems Checked Out and Repaired Immediately

If your car is making a weird noise, or is handling abnormally, get the problem checked out immediately rather than putting it off. Some odd noises or handling issues may be normal, but it’s best to get the problem checked out by a mechanic to be sure that it’s nothing serious. And if it is a serious problem, get it repaired immediately. Driving your vehicle with any broken parts or mechanical issues will simply make matters worse, and lead to more expensive repairs.

Keep Your Tires Inflated

Keep your tires properly inflated, according to your car’s specific tire pressure. Your car’s tire pressure is typically indicated in psi units in the inside of the driver’s or driver’s side rear door. Too little air or too much air can cause excessive wear on your tires or cause a dangerous blowout. A full set of tires is an expensive purchase, so you want to make sure that you’re getting the most life and use out of your tires before you need to replace them.

Find a Reputable Auto Repair Company

A reputable auto repair shop isn’t always easy to find. Be sure to do your research, looking into reviews and any recommendations from your friends and families. Be aware that cheaply priced products and services can a lot of times mean cheap quality that will simply have to be replaced or re-serviced in a short period of time. Your best bet is to find a mechanic who you can trust with your car, and won’t try to scam you. Aarrow Transmissions for example offers trustworthy full service auto repair performed by certified and trained technicians. Before getting your car serviced, you should also do research into average costs and possible causes of the issue.

Often, expensive repairs can’t be avoided. However, proper maintenance and routine servicing of your vehicle will help to reduce the risk of major problems in the future, an reduce the potential damage to your wallet.

My Home Renovation

When spring hit, I knew it was time for me to do something about my home.  I had wanted to make some changes to the way it looked, and just kept putting off.  But this time I decided it was time to begin planning a renovation project for my Chesterfield VA home.

After months of planning and several weeks of contractors running in and out of the house, my renovation project is complete and I couldn’t be more excited.

My kitchen was one of the more time consuming areas of the project.  Originally, my home had a reddish color hardwood floor, but over years of abuse it’s been scrapped, dinged, cracked, and anything else you can think of.  I knew it had to go.  I decided against going with tile and instead decided to have the hardwood fully replaced.  I contacted a local hardwood refinishing company to help me pick out the best fit for my home.  The hardwood I eventually settled on is dark brown with a slight smoky gray coloring to it.  It’s absolutely gorgeous.

However the flooring was important for my home and kitchen, I still had other things I wanted to change.  To match my new flooring, I picked out a multi-colored stone tile backsplash to line around the counter tops.

An interior of a rich house kitchen

In the spirit of keeping all things matching, I decided to upgrade all of my old appliances.  I decided on a great package from Samsung that included a fridge, stove, microwave, and dishwasher all in a sleek stainless steel finish.  I was excited to finally have appliances that all match.

Aside from my kitchen, I also wanted to upgrade my living room.  I wanted to keep with the new modern styling of my kitchen and purchase new furniture to match.  Since all of my old furniture was old and worn out, I didn’t feel bad about trashing it all and starting fresh.  I replaced the old loveseat with a gray modern style couch with sleek lines, swapped the antique coffee table out for one that matched the couch, and purchased a new low profile entertainment center.  To match everything, I repainted the walls from a light eggshell color to a charcoal gray.

Now that all the work has been finished I feel like I’m in a brand new home.  I can barely recognize anything when I enter – I love it!

Energy Efficiency Saves Money

Ways to Save in Your Home

Most people are interested in making their home more energy efficient, but few are willing to make large investments for a sustainable house. Try these simple ways to reduce your utility bills without making the plunge.

Lifestyle Choices

There are a couple of common sense, every day changes that you can make to avoid using too much energy or water in your home. First of all, make sure that when you load a washing machine or dishwasher, it is entirely full. Running halfway full cycles doubles the amount you will run over time, which can significantly increase your expenses. Taking one, quick shower a day and being conscious about leaving your water running are other ways to make sure you are reducing your water usage.

Plumbing and Electrical Inspections

Having a plumber or electrician take a look at your systems could give some insight to energy savings in ways that you would never consider. For instance, an electrician can tell if the way your home is wired is using excessive electricity and make recommendations to help you save. Likewise, your local plumber can find if pipes are secretly leaking or install an efficient water heater to cut down on your utility bills.

Energy Efficient Windows

Whether or not you decide to install energy efficient windows, replacing these old fixtures is the primary way to save on your heating and cooling costs. New windows will fit the opening in your wall for an air tight seal that keeps away the cold drafts or heat spells. Talk to a window replacement specialist in the area for more information on how long it will take before your savings balance out the installation investment.

Solar Film

Tinting your windows is another way to save in your home. Again, this will help maintain a consistent temperature in your home during summertime or sunnier months. You will also reap the additional benefits of reduced glare, a modern appearance, and less fading in your carpets and furnishings.

These simple upgrades and fixes can each make a considerable different in your water and electricity usage.

Siding: Invest in Your Home

Getting the Best Bang for your Buck

Home improvement When it comes to home improvement and renovations, we often find ourselves asking, “Is this really worth it?” or “Is this really going to make a difference?” Sometimes the cheaper option can be really appealing, and can in many circumstances give you the best bang for your buck. For example, an off-brand washing machine can wash your clothes just as well as more expensive, name-brand laundry machine. It’s likely to last just as long, too! The most expensive option is not always the smartest option. In other situations, the money you put into improving your home is directly related to what you’re getting out of it. When it’s time to give your home a makeover, it’s important to consider your options, and the potential size of return on your investment.

Siding is no exception to this. Siding is one of the most common subjects of home improvement, as the exterior of your home is vital for several reasons. Primarily, siding protects the structure of your home from the elements – weather, pests, and flame to name a few. Also, your home’s exterior is one of the first things people see when looking at where you live. Siding is representative of your personality and the pride that you take in maintaining a beautiful abode. So is the material of your siding something that you can skimp on? Probably not.

Vinyl or Wood?House

When choosing new siding for your house, you have a few options. Many opt for vinyl siding, as it’s cheap in cost and easy to clean. Others opt for the more classic wood-based siding, which gives your home a beautiful, rustic look. However, you have to weigh the consequences of choosing these options. Vinyl siding, for example, will easily melt or burn when exposed to fire – not the safest option. Vinyl can also be damaged by cold weather and debris. Wood on the other hand is highly susceptible to rotting when exposed to moisture, and is also subject to decay and pests. The best bet for renovating your siding is called Hardie Plank. Hardie Plank siding is a material that’s only offered by Blue Ridge Exteriors in Virginia. This type of siding provides the homeowner with flame, pest, and weather resistance, as well as paint durability. Although Hardie Plank might not be the cheapest option for siding, its long lifespan and high level of protection for your home makes it one of the best home improvement investments. When it comes to replacing the siding of your home, you don’t want to have to replace it for years to come!

What is Non-Medical Assistance?

senior-careSometimes being frugal isn’t all about how much money we save, but how much time we have to do the things we love.  Now, we all love our relatives, but as they get older, they often need a little bit more help around the house in order to function well.  Of course we want to spend time with our loved ones, but sometimes we need to face that it’s very difficult to devote all of our time to worrying and checking in with them.  While physically and mentally healthy, they still may find themselves limited due to arthritis or other conditions.  These problems are not significant enough to need a medical assistant in home, but they may also require more attention than you can give as a working individual, especially if you have a family of your own.

In these cases, nonmedical senior care is an option to consider.  These assistants stop in for a few hours a day as many days a week as you would like.  They are able to help with tasks both in the home and outside of the home, allowing your loved one to remain independent and keeping you free to live your life as needed.

What senior care looks like is different for each case.  For some individuals, the purpose is more geared towards companionship.  In these cases, the assistant will stop by to chat, play games, and maybe even watch television or a movie together.  The overall goal is to make certain that your loved one feels intellectually engaged, which can help stave off health problems in addition to making him or her feel better.

In other cases, in-home senior care can be purely practical.  The assistant can come over to help with basic cleaning, prepare some meals, and take your relative out to complete some shopping.  This can be to help your relative manage the house or it can be done to ensure that you are able to make the time you spend together more meaningful, instead of you needing to take care of these basic tasks.

There are many organizations that can help, such as Seniors Helping Seniors.  If this option sounds like a fit for you, contact a senior assistance service to find the right assistant for your needs.

Why the Obsession with Granite and Marble Countertops?

As you start the prep-work for your remodel, you are likely wondering why there is such an emphasis on the use of natural stone—particularly marble and granite.  The truth is that there are many reasons local Richmond VA homeowners and designers prefer to use these two materials for countertops and islands.

 Natural Surface

 Natural is in, no matter what area of culture you are talking about: all natural foods, natural fabrics, natural make-up, natural creams and lotions.  Home design has not escaped the reach of this phenomenon.  As a result, the Granite | Granite Countertopsmore natural materials used in your home, the better in terms of design and resale value.

 Beautiful Look

 Granite and marble are complex stones that come in a wide variety of designs and colors.  But no matter the design you opt for, the fact is that the look they offer is quite beautiful.  Unlike synthetic materials, these stones have a great depth to their look. A great resource to explore the hundreds of possibilities is found on Granite Source’s Richmond website which I have found trumps all the rest of the competition.

 Easy to Clean

 It is fine to make a mess with these two stones.  They will not stain nor will they hold onto smells or germs like other synthetic materials.  Cleaning is a breeze and can mostly be done with just soap and water, though marble does require a bit more maintenance.  This is why I prefer granite over marble.

 Hold their Value

 These stone countertops are upgrades you can make without worrying about them depreciating in value.  So long as you give them the right care, they will hold their value and increase the value of your home.


 As these surfaces are easy to clean, you do not need to worry about lingering germs.  Simple, regular cleaning will leave them disinfected and keep your home healthy.This is vital when you have young children or pets that like to put their mouths on every surface.

 Heat Resistant

 Finally, these two surfaces hold up well to heat, making them ideal for use in the kitchen.  No need to worry about the flames from the stove, the hot oven, or pots and pans—these stones can handle them just fine.

If you would like to learn more about how natural stone countertop can increase on your home investment then get in touch with Granite Source in Richmond VA. They are the best supplier around and are very helpful.

A Beautiful Lawn Doesn’t Require Backbreaking Work

I am a true Home and Garden Television addict.  I can spend hours watching that channel, salivating over all of the beautiful homes and how I wish they were all mine.  It has given me a lot of inspiration over the years when it comes to improving the look of my home and helped me determine how to improve its value as well, which will be beneficial down the road when it’s time to sell and get a new home.

At first, I only focused on the interior of my home when it came to these improvements with simple things like lighting and flooring that I could accomplish with the tool I had currently.  It seemed like the easiest place to start and it would give me the most benefit.  After all, I do not spend a lot of time sitting on my front lawn, staring at my house.  So that is where I focused my attention, working on my overall design as well as makingLandscaping service , home improvement upgrades to help bring my home into the current century. It was built in the 50’s and most of the interior fixtures and embellishments were very out dated.

I then started getting into the landscaping shows and thinking about the curb appeal of my home.  Most of my neighbors had the upper hand on their yards and I felt I needed to catch up. There were so many ideas that appealed to me, but the problem was figuring out where to start.  And then I realized, “how the heck was I going to manage all that backbreaking work on my own on top of my busy work schedule?”

The answer was simple, and cheaper than I had originally expected. With a little research online I was able to enlist the help of Pete Rose landscaping services, a local business of Richmond, VA.  These professionals were able to create a plan to make my yard something I could be proud of and they worked with me every step of the way.  Each decision was cleared by me before it was implemented and they worked hard to make sure their landscaping services stayed within my budget. This was great because I had already invested a lot in my interior home design projects.

The best part was that Pete Rose offered both design and maintenance landscaping services.  This allowed me to keep the professional look without having to burden myself or risk any injury from that exhausting back breaking work.  And now my home is something I feel proud, both inside and out.


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