Back-to-school shopping can become an expensive, time consuming and even stressful event. Here is a checklist that will help keep your family on time, on task, and on budget:
- Stick to the teacher's list of supplies; don’t buy extraneous items that may go to waste
- See what you have at home first; you may already own most items
- Wait until sales are advertised
- Buy plain lunch-boxes and let your kids decorate them
- Clip coupons from Sunday circulars
- Shop discount stores first such as Dollar Tree or Five Below
- Follow stores' social media accounts for sale alerts
- Buy in bulk and split among multiple families
- Try thrift shops such as Salvation Army or Plato’s Closet
- Go discount, such as TJ Maxx, Marshall's or Nordstrom Rack
- If not discount, try overstock.com, zulily.com and ClothingUnder10.com
- Make alterations to old clothes: hem pants, dye shirts or sew on patches
- Old Navy, Gap Kids, The Children's Place refund the difference on new sale items within 14 days
- Use Craigslist or Facebook garage sales to sell stuff for extra cash
Have you ever considered purchasing a second home? Maybe you’ve been on the fence about whether a second or vacation home would fit into your lifestyle. Here are a few reasons why owning a second home could enhance your life!
- Spending quality time with family and friends – a second home offers an opportunity to share experiences and make memories in a new environment. A second or vacation home can provide a great place for the people in your life to gather and enjoy time together. From family reunions to annual vacations, there lots of reasons to have those you care about come for a visit!
- A place to escape to – many people purchase a second home to be near their favorite ski slope, to have a place to enjoy the warmth during the winter, or to be by a beautiful beach to walk along. Wherever you want to spend your free time, a second home can provide a much needed place to decompress and relax. It can even be a home to retire in.
- A chance to invest – owning a second home offers an opportunity to rent either your original home or your vacation property. It’s possible to use rental income to improve your finances. It’s also a possibility that the second property will increase in value, which could increase your assets.
If you or someone you know has been thinking of owning a home away from home, we can help!
August can be one of the hottest months of the year, and many people cool off by going to beaches, pools, and lakes. While this can be a nice break from the heat, it’s important to remember to protect your skin from the sun’s rays. Here are some helpful pointers on how to enjoy the outdoors while keeping your skin happy.
Use sunscreen – apply sunscreen before heading outside. Use sunscreen that has an SPF level of at least 15. For more protection, choose a higher number. Make sure to reapply anytime you swim or sweat or if you’ve been in the sun for more than two hours. If you’ve had the same sunscreen for a while, check the expiration date and replace it if it is expired.
Wear a hat and protective clothing – clothing provides some degree of protection from the sun. There are even clothes available that are certified as having UV protection. Try to wear hats that have a brim all the way around. This helps shade the back of your neck, as well as your face and ears. If you’re wearing a baseball cap, remember to use sunscreen on the areas not covered by your hat.
Find some shade – staying in the shade is the easiest way to avoid being overexposed. By staying under a tree or umbrella, you can reduce the amount of sun you’re exposed to. It’s also a good idea to stay out of the sun during peak hours (generally from 10am to 2pm).
A step above traditional cucumber water, the Cucumber Lime Fizz is a light and refreshing departure from the usual summer drinks. This beverage is a breeze to put together and is perfect for a summer party or a quiet night at home.
1 small peeled cucumber (sliced)
6 sprigs fresh mint
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup lime juice (fresh or premade)
4 cups club soda or seltzer
Put the cucumber, mint and sugar in a bowl and muddle. Add the lime juice. Put the combined cucumber, mint, sugar and lime juice in a pitcher. Add the club soda and ice and stir gently. Pour into glasses and garnish (if desired).
Yield: 8 servings
Over the winter, you may have thought about ways you can spruce up your home this spring. Or maybe you wanted to make some improvements, but weren’t sure where to start. Here are a few examples of ways you can take to make your home look its best!
- Update your hardware. By replacing old door handles and locks, you can make your front door look like new!
- Repaint your outside trim and doors. Sometimes just a little bit of paint can go a long way! Changing trim color is an easy way to update your exterior without having to paint the whole house.
- Clean your windows. This may sound like a silly one, but making sure your windows shine can make a big difference. Cleaning them inside and out can bring the sparkle back to your home.
- Add planters. If you have a porch or front steps, you can put together planters with different annuals and greens so they have color throughout the season.
- Power wash your deck, patio, and walk ways. Over the years, dirt and moss can accumulate on the walkways around your home. You can rent (or buy) a power washer to make quick work of removing these spots.
- Replace or repaint your mailbox. A mailbox may not seem important, but over time they can rust and start to become unappealing. Check to see what shape it’s in and see if it needs a makeover.
- Install solar powered lamps. These easy to install lights are a good way to improve your outdoor lighting without breaking the bank. They are great for illuminating sideways, driveways and other areas of your yard that need a little extra light.