(Photo credit: janie.hernandez55)
We’ve just experienced one of the longest winters in living memory here in the UK. With gas prices coincidentally hitting an all-time high, many people are struggling to afford to heat their homes.
There are however a number of ways that you can make your house warmer, and therefore reduce the amount you spend on your monthly gas bill. Try starting with the following things
Install double glazing
Although new double-glazed windows may come at an expensive initial outlay, the fact is they make your home far more energy-efficient. This means that over the course of ten years or so, you will get the money that you have spent back in lower gas bill prices. If you need to do your whole house, it is well worth looking into the kind of deals you can find. Some companies offer to do the back of your house for free if you purchase windows for the front for example.
You may be finding that it’s your gas usage that is crippling you financially, and that the tariff you are on means using electricity is a far cheaper option. If you have gas central heating installed in your home then this can cause an obvious issue. In this case it may be worth investing in a quality portable electric heater. You can put this in the room you spend the most time in, for example your living room in the evening, or maybe in your bathroom first thing in the morning when it is very cold.
Insulate your loft
Most heat generated in the home rises upwards, and if your loft is not insulated then you’ll be surprised by how much warmth can actually escape through all of the small cracks and crevices in your roof. This wasted energy is costing you a lot of money every year, so getting your loft insulated will save you a huge amount on your bills as you won’t need to turn the heating on so much. In fact, there are even government schemes that will pay for this insulation, so there’s no reason not to go ahead with it!
Get a new boiler
Old, clunky boilers are one of the main reasons that homes are inefficient with their energy usage They create far less power for the cost and are a sure way to lose money. Again, although a new boiler is very expensive, whatever you spend is estimated to repay itself over the course of approximately ten years in the amount you save on your heating bills.
Look for a new energy tariff
You may just find that you are spending too much because you are on the wrong energy tariff with your gas supplier. The government is currently cracking down on companies who are not offering the best value tariff to their customers, so make sure you get in contact with yours to find out whether you are getting the best deal you can. If not, it may be time to consider changing your supplier.
About the author
Jeremy Adams is a financial blogger who has recently been writing a lot about energy prices. He has advised numerous people to consider buying an electric heater if it helps to optimise their current energy tariff.
Coffee cup (Photo credit: @Doug88888)
I spent a year living in Costa Rica and, as a travel writer, my sole job was to flesh out the hidden gems of the country. As a coffee lover, you may already know that some of the best coffee in the world comes from Costa Rica. More specifically, many people consider Britt Coffee Farm the Mecca of Tico coffee. I spent some time on the farm and with the owners of Britt to find out just why so many people ordered Britt coffee around the world.
Costa Rican coffee production began in the late 18th century, although the beans weren’t local. This country’s coffee is coffee Arabica and comes, originally, by way of Ethiopia. The reason so many people adore Tico coffee is because of its consistency. That’s a natural phenomenon that happened because the environmental factors in the country just happen to be ideal.
The Best Beans and the Best Region
There are two types of coffee beans, with Arabica being the preferred variety. It also demands more care to grow. Costa Rica is the only country whose law requires the strict use of only Arabica beans.
Although Arabica beans provide a great foundation for coffee, don’t forget about volcanic ash. Costa Rica has the highest number of active volcanoes in the world, which causes rich minerals to create very fertile soil.
It’s because of all those volcanoes that the soil is perfect for growing coffee. A little acidic, volcanic ash evenly distributes plant roots which leads to oxygenation and retained humidity. Consider the soil of Costa Rica similar to a hydrotherapy pool. There’s the perfect temperature, moisture and expert care put into it to create an unbeatable product.
Above the Soil
Those volcanoes also serve another great purpose. Much of Costa Rica is mountainous and the central valley is over 4,000 feet. This high altitude makes coffee beans mature slower than average, which leads to a richer, more aromatic roast. Surprisingly, the farming of coffee beans in Costa Rica is also exceptionally innovative and simple.
You can’t discount the farming when wondering at the great flavor of Tico coffee. For a country with buses heaving black smoke and no real thought to recycling, the coffee farms are incredibly sustainable and green. Inventive solutions to pests, like tempting them with rum around the beans and drowning them, are far superior to pesticides.
Get a Taste
If you’ve yet to try Costa Rican coffee, you’re in for a real treat. Every coffee lover should have a bag of their favorite roast, tended with care and made rich from the volcanoes, in their cupboard. Check for free shipping deals from Costa Rican coffee growers such as Britt.
However, if a trip to Costa Rica is on the horizon, I highly recommend touring the farms. You’ll enjoy a cupping session, which is the real way to taste for quality (spoiler alert: it’s cold). Free samples are also abundant, both of coffee and chocolates. The country might be known for the beaches and zip lining, but don’t overlook the delectable cups of Joe.
Budget (Photo credit: Tax Credits)
When you are loaded with debt and running on EMI you must be ready to prepare a budget. It is something like ray of light in the dark ocean .I have practically observed these things and feel that we must maintain our daily budget to live a debt-free life. Every person has there own way of doing things. Some do it by using complicated software while some work out in minds only. But my style of doing things is very simple. So I am sharing my tips with you which you cannot afford to miss. So why waste time let’s go on budgeting. And yes we are talking about daily budget not weekly or monthly budgets. Every dime saved a day will create a lump of money for the future. Here are some smart tips to maintain your daily budget:
1. Daily Budget Control Sheet
This can be done easily on MS-Excel sheet or simply on a piece of paper. Make a format and fill it before start of every month. Allocate a fixed amount for every type of expenses fixed or variable. Check the compliance every week. If some expenses have crossed the li
mit, balance it by cutting down other expenses. There can be various ways of doing things. But the motive will be same “SAVING”. Here is a simple ready made sheet attached for you.
2. Keep some extra reserve
Nothing in this world is fixed, unforeseen things happen. So why get shocked? Keep some money every month as extra cash reserve, to maintain your budget and not get unbalanced. These reserves may not be too much. Just a little amount to absorb the shocks.
3. Eat at home
Instead of dining and dating outside why not go for home candle light dinner? This is hygienic as well as great way to save lots of money on daily basis. If I am working on budget so my approach should be saving rather than spending.
4. Collect Coupons
This is one of the smartest ways to maintain the extra expenses occurred in a day. With huge competition in groceries, clothes, shoes, entertainment etc companies provide various coupons and exchange offers. Collect as much as possible and reimburse with daily used items. Hurray! Lots of money saved.
5. Save on taxes
If you are earning handsomely, don’t feel like ‘on top of the world’ because you are inviting lots of taxes, levies and duties for your income and luxury purchases.
Think some practical ways for tax credits. Insurance policies, Investments, Mutual Funds all help in tax savings. The amount of taxes deducted by government depends upon specific country. So you can plan for the savings based on amount of taxes taken away. You can also prepare another sheet especially for taxes calculation.
Think positive and always have an eye on your planned budget vs. actual, on daily basis. A smart family is known by the balanced positive lifestyle and not showing off lavishing style for just sake of maintaining the society where they live in.
Paint since 1978 (Photo credit: dogwelder)
The need to update and maintain your home is a routine occurrence, don’t you think? Yes, even when you do not necessarily have large amounts of money available to transform and upgrade your home in just the way you would have hoped. This is why there are plenty of low cost and budget friendly ways where you can breathe new life in to your home and give your house that facelift you what you have been wanting for.
One of the most economical ways to improve your homes appearance is through a fresh coat of paint on the walls of your house. This can make any room look and feel new. A fresh coat of the same colour of paint can make the room look renewed. Even on changing the colour completely can give any space a whole new look.
If one does the paint work on their own, the only cost could be that of the paint and supplies which is relatively low when compared to the use of professional painters. Paint can be used on walls, cabinets, vanities and even furniture.
Small touches in the house are another low cost home improvement option. This can entail switching out lamp shades and lighting fixtures to changing door, handle and drawer knobs and pulls to bring a fresh look to the home.
In addition, simply changing wall face plates and light switches to new ones’ also can be a great way to change your homes look without having a high price tag associated with it. Know where you can give a face lift; try this, look at your house from a stranger’s perspective to determine the tired off area.
Some additional ways and means of performing small home improvement projects throughout your home that do not cost much but pack a big punch include planting flowers outside, adding slipcovers to dated furniture, hanging new curtains, changing bedding and using inexpensive throw rugs.
A variety of small measures can be used to create a new looking home and can be done without the high cost of major work that may take years to save up for and thus be able to afford. The affordable options can be done rather quickly for most people and can also be done in stages, which is also helpful, as one can make the improvement as the funds become available.
Hi I’m Maria Benson; my favorite pursuits are landscape improvement ideas, home design tips, blogging on finance topics like ppi reclaim. I live in London and I love participating in various online forums. You can find my work all over the internet on various websites.