Category: BCV Blog

Thrifty Bathroom Remodel Hacks

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A beautiful bathroom remodel can add so much value to your home. Unfortunately, it’s really expensive to do a bathroom remodel. Instead, how about upgrading certain items to make your bathroom feel new? We have some thrifty bathroom remodel hacks that will transform your bathroom. Sometimes simple updates to existing fixtures and hardware can cut down the cost for your project.


A new bathtub can be very expensive. Also, depending on how old your house is, this could be impossible to upgrade. This could involve ripping up the floor and the tile in your shower depending on how your tub was installed. Older homes usually have tubs that are installed into the walls or floor. This would involve gutting your whole bathroom. Instead, you can purchase a tub liner to save money on your bathroom install. You can find pre-made tub liners at home improvement stores like Home Depot. You also can take measurements and get a custom liner built. With either of these options, its about a quarter of the cost of ripping out your old scratched tub.

Old Tile

Having old, unique tile in your shower can give you bathroom personality. Unfortunately, when some of the tile needs repaired it is next to impossible to find pieces to purchase. This is another occasion that a liner can be your best option. You can also purchase shower liners at home improvement stores. By taking measurements of your shower, you have a wide variety of design types to choose from. This not only makes it look like you did a bathroom remodel, but it will also protect the old tile underneath from further water damage. Be sure to also shop online. Sometimes stores will have a closeout on a certain design and you can get it on clearance for next to nothing.


If you have a small bathroom, you may be thinking of removing walls to add some extra space to your bathroom. We have a better idea to make your room feel larger. Instead of a traditional cloth shower curtain, instead install clear glass doors in your shower. Being able to see through the glass adds the inside of your shower to your square footage in that area. If you are not handy with home improvement projects, this is one that you would want to discuss with your local handyman. Once you buy the materials, you can pay a handyman to install your new doors. This is a pretty cost effective method to your bathroom remodel.

Sink and Vanity

The sink and vanity is the centerpiece in your bathroom. Its also the easiest piece to update. You don’t need to be a plummer to install a new one. It mainly involves turning off the water, installing the new item and turning the water back on. It can easily be done in an afternoon. You can find a lot of closeouts on designs for new ones that will save you even more money. This could add a lot of extra value to your house if you are ever thinking of selling it.

Natural Allergy Relief

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Although spring is a beautiful time of year, it can be a nightmare for people with allergies. Because everything is blooming, there is a lot more pollen in the air. For those with allergies, it can make it hard to breathe. Over the counter allergy medicine can be very expensive. Also, for people the are sensitive to medication, over the counter allergy relief can cause you too many side effects. We have some ideas for natural relief from your seasonal allergies.

Washing Your Hair

Anytime that you are outside for any length of time, you should wash your hair when you get back inside. Pollen can collect in your hair, especially if it is windy. This pollen can eventually fall into your eyes and make them itchy and watery. Its an awful feeling for people with seasonal allergies. Be sure to wash your hair throughly with warm water and shampoo.


The best defense for allergies is to take a hot shower. This is your best defense if you have severe seasonal allergies. The first signs of an allergy attack are coughing, wheezing and sneezing. A shower will remove all of the allergens from your body quickly. You may want to wash your body and hair twice just to be sure you didn’t miss any spots.

Wearing Sunglasses

Wearing sunglasses anytime you go outdoors is another way to help your allergies. This is especially important if your eyes are effected by pollen. During spring, the wind may blow pollen in the air. This will immediately get into your eyes. Wearing sunglasses will protect your eyes from pollen that is blowing in the air.

Closing Your Windows

This is an often overlooked cause for your allergies. You should keep the windows of your house and car closed during spring and summer. It may feel great to open your windows and let in the breeze, but this will pollute your space. Once pollen gets into fabric, it is really hard to remove. This can keep setting off your allergies. By keeping your windows closed will keep pollen from entering your car or your house.

Nasal Spray

Once pollen gets into your sinus passages, it can be miserable. You will keep having symptoms because the pollen is stuck. Flushing out your sinus passages is the best way to deal with this. You can buy saline nasal spray at any drug store. Clean out each side of your nose with a spray or two. This will remove all of the pollen and will help stop your body’s reaction to the allergen.


Peppermint is known as a natural allergy reliever. You can buy peppermint tea at any grocery store. Start by having a cup of peppermint tea at night. Also, anytime you are having problems with your allergies, brew a cup. You can also get peppermint as an essential oil. This is a more concentrated form of peppermint. Put a drop on each temple, under your nose and on the insides of your wrists. This will be absorbed into your skin and help you naturally battle the pollen.

Budgeting For Spring Home Improvement Projects

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Spring is a great time for projects around your home. The tricky part can be budgeting for these improvements. Once you have the budgeting under control, you can plan the list you want to tackle this spring. Some of these projects you can tackle on your own, while others you will need to call a professional. Budgeting is always easier if you can complete the project yourself. Figuring out the cost ahead of time can help you plan. We have a list that gives you some estimates for your home improvement budgeting.

Wall Painting

Do it yourself price: $200

Professional price: $1,500

One of the easiest home improvement projects is painting your house. It’s also a project that you can do yourself. The two things not to scrimp on during your budgeting is good paint and primer. Primer is used first to cover over the old paint. By using it, you ensure your new paint lasts longer. If you are only painting a few rooms in your house, you can do it yourself. But, if you are looking at painting the entire interior of your house, it’s better to hire a professional. It will cost more, but they will be able to finish it in a good time frame.

House siding

Do it yourself price: $300

Professional price: $470

The wear and tear on your house from storms can add a lot of dirt and debris to your siding. The best way to clean this is to use a power or pressure washer. You can do pressure washing yourself by renting a pressure washer. It doesn’t take a lot of skill. But, if you have a lot of mold or mildew on your siding, you will want to hire a professional. They will use a power washer. Power washers use very hot water to remove the more difficult debris.

Lawn maintenance

Do it yourself price: $50

Professional price: $120

Your lawn needs regular maintenance during spring and summer. This is another easy project that you can do yourself. By doing it yourself, it helps your budgeting for home improvement. You will want to mow your grass, trim your hedges and plant new flowers for spring. For more intensive work such as installing sod, treating bugs or aeration, you will want to call a professional. Also, if you aren’t experienced in trimming your hedges, you will want a professional to tackle this job.

Gutter cleaning

Do it yourself price: $30

Professional price: $150

Cleaning your gutters is really important in Florida. Leaves from storms can collect in your cutters and clog them. If you don’t clean your gutters, rain can fall directly from your roof down your siding to your foundation. This can cause serious issues in your home. Its worth taking the time to get on a ladder and rake out all of the debris. This will save your foundation from any water and structural damage.

If you are worried about potential injury from being on your roof, you will want to hire a professional. Also, if your gutters are completely packed with debris it’s a good idea to call a professional. A professional will also check your gutters for any potential damage and problems.

Annual Vs Perennial

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Many gardeners question using an annual vs perennial. There are benefits to both types of flowers. Knowing the pros and cons of annual vs perennial is important for your flower garden. An annual is a plant that only lives through one growing season. The growing cycle is sprouting blooming, seeding and then death. Perennials are flowers that live though three or more growing seasons. They are either grown from a bulb or a seed. Now that you understand the difference between an annual vs perennial, let’s talk about which type is best for your garden.


Annual flowers are normally very bright and showy. They work well as a centerpiece for your garden. They also are cheaper than perennials because they last only one season. Its great to experiment with different annuals each spring to find your absolute favorite. We suggest buying annuals that are self-seeding. This means they shed their own seeds that will grow next year. You won’t have to actually plant these yourself.

There is a wide variety of annuals that thrive in the Floria heat. Some of our favorites are zinnias, marigolds, impatiens, golden dewdrops, salvia, purslane, cuphea and verbena. All of these types are very bright. They also come in different colors so you can experiment each year with different colors in your garden. Our personal favorite are zinnias. They have a large bloom that almost looks like a dahlia. They are also beautiful as cut flowers. Also, they are very low maintenance in your garden. They are drought tolerant and need very little water to survive.


The main difference in the annual vs perennial debate is the growing season. Perennials will grow for 3 years or more. They can be purchased as seeds, bulbs or young plants. They don’t typically bloom as long as annuals. Most gardeners pair them with annuals to keep more color in their garden. Because of their longer lifecycle, you don’t have to replace them year after year.

Some of the popular perennials are roses, mums, peonies, day lilies, lantana, petunia, pentas, coneflower, jacobinia or golden dewdrop. Its a good idea to research which perennials work the best in the florida heat. Another way is to look around your neighborhood to see what plants most of your neighbors have planted. Our personal favorites are roses. Roses need as much time in the full sun as possible. They grow really well in the Florida sun. Roses do need moist soil, which can be difficult in times of drought. It’s best just to check the soil for moisture and to water your rose bushes.


We talked a lot about different flowers to plant in your garden, but we don’t want to leave out plants that don’t have flowers. The climate in Florida can be challenging because of the temperature fluctuations. It can get colder at night and also have extremely hot temperatures during the day. We have two perennials that do great in this climate. The autumn fern is is a type of fern with leaves that are typically dark green. They grow best in shade with evenly moist soil. Another great plant is the Zeezee plant. It’s a common houseplant in Northern states. It can be grown as a tropical perennial in Florida. It needs little water and attracts no pests.

Tricks For Home Organizing

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We absolutely hate clutter in our home! It makes your house feel smaller and cluttered. Organizing your home doesn’t have to cost and arm and leg. We have some great organizing tips that you can do cheaply. There are a ton of items around your home that can be reused for organization. For example, you can use cereal boxes to store magazines. Sometimes all it takes is a little creativity to help your home organizing project.


Unruly cords can really clutter your home quickly. Also, it can take forever to un jumble the cords when you need them. Empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls can help with organizing them. Wrap each cord and secure with a bread twist tie. The cords will fit snuggly inside these cardboard rolls. You can use a sharpie to write the length of the cord on the outside. Or, you can take your organizing a step further by writing the type of cord and what room it belongs to on the outside.

Canned Goods

Does your family like to stock up on canned food items when they are on sale? If so, your panty may look like a mess. We have a super simple solution. You can use empty soda can boxes to organize these cans. Keep the cans to only one kind in each box. An easy way to decorate the box is to wrap each in simple patterned wrapping paper. You can use a different type for each food item.

Magazine Storage

Another huge source of clutter in your home is piles of magazines. Organizing these is another easy task. Save empty cereal boxes from all of your morning breakfasts. You can cut out the top and cut the sides on a diagonal. This leaves the perfect area for magazine storage. You can again use wrapping paper to decorate the outside of the boxes to make them look great in your house.

Grocery Bags

Reusing plastic grocery bags around your house will save you a lot of money in small trash bags. Storing these though can become unruly. A great solution is to use and empty baby wipe container. This way, you can pull out one bag at a time. This is another project that patterned wrapping paper comes in handy. You can wrap the outside of container. Also, you can use double sided tape to hang this on the wall of your kitchen.


Unopened mail can pile up and make your house look really messy. Start this project by going to the dollar store. You can get a hanging shower caddy for $1. Choose white or a color that goes with your home décor. If you can’t find the perfect shade don’t stress, spray paint fixes everything. Spray paint the entire caddy evenly and let dry overnight. Hang this in your dining room or kitchen to store mail neatly.


If you love to cook, you definitely have a large collection of spices. Not only can this take up precious space in your kitchen, it can be hard to find exactly what you need. Take another trip to the dollar store and get an over the door shoe organizer. You can put all of your spice containers in the compartments. This helps out with your overall organizing mission.

Best Orlando Amusement Parks

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Orlando is known for its amusement parks. Its a hub for different theme parks. Amusement parks are a great way to spend time with your family. There are so many different options to visit. Each amusement park has its own unique style and theme. Start preparing for summer break with the kids early and start planning your day trips.

Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Disney World is one of the best known amusement parks in the world. Disney’s Magic Kingdom was the first attraction to open at Walk Disney World in 1971. Its iconic Cinderella Castle has become a symbol of childhood adventure. There’s a huge amount of Disney inspired rides, roller coasters and entertainment. The Magic Kingdom is spilt into six different lands. These are Fantasyland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Main Street and Liberty Square. Each of these six different lands has its own unique theme. If you have smaller children, be sure to visit Fantasyland, the most child friendly land.

SeaWorld Orlando

If your kids are interested in marine life, SeaWorld is definitely the amusement park to visit. It’s well known for its aquatic themed rides, rollercoasters, exhibitions and shows. The most popular attractions are the Dolphin Cove, Stingray Lagoon and the Shark Encounter tunnel. SeaWorld is a combination of zoo and amusement park. Many of the different areas of the park have “hands on” experiences with the sea animals. In total, SeaWorld is divided into 8 different areas.


Legoland is one the the largest amusement parks in Florida. There is a ton of different things to see and do in this park. Besides its rollercoasters, shows and performances, there are also huge Lego built models. Legoland also has its own separate waterpark. The Land of Adventure offers more of the exciting rides. It also includes a safari trek though a park of the park with life sized Lego animals.

Universal Studios

Universal Studios is the amusement park that has the most Hollywood inspired rides and attractions. This park is focused more on delivering a full movie experience with state of the art technology. It has a wide range of rollercoasters, including the Hulk. The most popular part of the park is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can’t miss Dragon Alley with its fire breathing dragon. If your kids are Harry Potter fans, this is definitely the amusement park for you.

Aquatica Park

If you kids love the water, you definitely need to visit Aquatica Park. Its located next to SeaWorld. It offers head to toe slides and includes more unique attractions. The best attraction is the Dolphin Plunge. Your slide down a transparent tube while dolphins swim around in a surrounding pool. Its a great way to beat the summer heat in Florida. Another great ride is Taumata Racer. You race other riders to the bottom on a mat. You can’s miss the brightly colored racing lanes.


This amusement is the cheapest in the area. Its home to dozens of alligators and crocodiles. You can learn about Orlando’s most famous reptiles. It also contains the scariest ride in all of Florida. Your can take a zip line over the alligator and crocodile infested swamps of Gatorland. This harrowing ride features 1,200 feet of zip line flying.

Tips For Spring Cleaning

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Spring is finally here! This winter in Florida has been colder than many in recent years. This is a great time of year for spring cleaning. Spring cleaning effectively deep cleans your house once a year. This not only helps with dirt, but it also helps remove germs that may be floating around your home. We have some great tips for you when it comes time for your spring cleaning.

Lamps and Light Fixtures

Light fixtures and table lamps can accumulate a huge amount of dust during the year. Over time, this can dull the surface of your light bulbs and block light. Before cleaning these fixtures, be sure that the lights are off for awhile so the light bulbs cool down. Using a microfiber cloth to collect all of the dust, gently going over every surface of your light fixture.

Door Knobs and Handles

Clean door knobs and handles can really make your house feel really clean. Go around your house and use a microfiber cloth and cleaning product to clean each of these. The outside of your door usually gets a lot of dirt buildup during the winter months. Using soapy water in a bucket with a soft sponge, wipe your front door throughly. You can dry with a soft cloth when you are done. Also, don’t forget the inside of your front door. It can collect fingerprints during the year that need to be wiped away.


Your walls should all be wiped down when it comes time for spring cleaning. You can use a little bit of dish soap in a bucket with warm water to clean them. Be sure to work from top to bottom so there aren’t visible water drips. Walls can become scuffed during the year. You can use a magic eraser to gently remove these.

Window Frames and Baseboards

Baseboards are the more common part of your home that gets cleaned and dusted. But, you also want to get the tops of your windows and your upper molding. Using a cleaning product and a microfiber cloth, hit all of the areas that collected dust all year.


You can make the spring cleaning of your bookshelves dual purpose. You not only can clean dust, but you can declutter your bookshelf of books you no longer want. Remove books and objects from each shelf. Dust each item and the bookshelf before putting them back.

Picture Frames and Mirrors

The glass on all of your wall hanging need to be cleaned once a year. Start by dusting all sides of the frames with a microfiber cloth. A tip for cleaning is to not spray directly onto the picture frames. Liquid cleaner can get underneath and ruin pictures and artwork. Spray window cleaner lightly onto a glass cleaning cloth and then wipe them down.


You would be amazed at what is collected in your couch cushions. Start by using vacuum attachments to clean the cushions and under the cushions. Try not to vacuum up larger items such as coins. If possible, rotate your cushions to help with even wear and tear.

Easy And Cheap Kids Crafts

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This is a great time of year to work on kids crafts. With your kids off of school on the weekends, kids crafts are a great way to fill up some of their time. These ideas can also be used for homemade gifts. They would be great to give to your children’s teachers, neighbors or family friends for any special occasion. Some kids crafts can be expensive with all of the materials needed. Our easy and cheap kids crafts will keep your kids occupied for hours.


Decorating tea towels is a fun way to get your kids involved in crafts. All you will need is white tea towels, a potato and fabric paint. You can get the tea towels and fabric paint at the dollar store to make them a budget friendly kids crafts. You will want to help your younger children with the next step. Using a paring knife, cut out the opposite of a star. You want the star to be the object that isn’t carved. It will be the highest part of the potato. Next, have your kids paint the star on the potato stamp with fabric paint. Lay your tea towel flat on a table and use painter’s tape to tape the edges down so the towel lays flat. Stamp the potato on the towel, repainting the star when the image gets too light. Let your towel dry completely and remove the painters tape.


Our next idea for kids crafts is easy and a great gift for friends or your children’s teachers. Visit the dollar store and buy plain coffee cups or soup bowls in light colors. Good examples are white, yellow or sky blue. You will also need an oil based paint marker. For extra glitz, purchase one that is silver or gold. Put down an old sheet on your work surface just in case your kids get some of the marker on their hands. Then, have an artistic theme for each mug. Once can be polka dots, another can be clouds and a third could be flowers. On each mug, have your kids draw these on the outside of the mug. Let them dry overnight and they are ready for any occasion!


A sharpie oil based paint marker is a great item to have for kids crafts. Instead of having the same plain ornaments on your tree for Christmas, have your kids customize them. Take all of the plain ornaments you already have and put an old sheet over your dining room table. Use a different festive word for each bulb. Our suggestions are noel, peace, joy, merry, winter and bells. Have your kids paint marker a word on each bulb. Don’t worry about perfect lettering, encourage your kids to be creative and imperfect. Let the bulbs dry for about an hour. Then, decorate the tree next year with all of their homemade Christmas ornaments.


This concept for kids crafts isn’t going to be a favorite of yours, but we guarantee it will be a favorite of your kids. Add 5 ounces of white school glue to a disposable cup. Next, add in a tablespoon of water, drops of food coloring and glitter. Mix well with a wooden Popsicle stick. Lastly, add ¼ cup of liquid starch. Stir well with your Popsicle stick until it starts to get a solid consistency. Take out of the cup and begin kneading on a table. You now have your own slime! When you kids aren’t using it, store in an sealed container.

How To Make Homemade Non-Toxic Cleaning Supplies

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Toxic store bought cleaning supplies are not only bad for the environment and your family, they are costing a fortune. General cleaning supplies can cost you $5 and up in the store. They can be harmful to your pets, plants and your children. Our DIY tips on cleaning supplies is chalk full of great tips.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda has been around since 1843. It has virus killing abilities and is completely non toxic. For kitchen grease, sprinkle some baking soda on a damp cloth and concentrate on the heavy grease areas. Children’s toys can be easily cleaned with ¼ cup baking soda and 1 quart warm water. You can either soak the toys in this solution or you can use a damp cloth to saturate the toys and wipe off excess dirt with a dry cloth. For large carpet spills, blot as much of the standing spill off as possible. Clean the area with gentle soap and water. When this is complete, sprinkle dry baking soda on the spot and vacuum. This will ensure there is no remaining stain or odor.

Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice not only smells fresh, but it is great for mildew and mold. With this in your arsenal of cleaning supplies, you can also cut grease and shine hard surfaces. Laminate counters and cutting boards are easy to clean with lemon juice. For the tough stains, massage a cut lemon onto the stain. If the stain is stubborn you can leave the juice on to soak into the surface. Rinse with eater and dry as normal. Tupperware stains are tough to fight. If you squeeze some lemon juice and baking soda onto the stains and let it sit overnight, the stains can be scrubbed away in the morning. You can shine real brass with lemon too. Cut half a lemon, sprinkle salt on it and gently rub until its clean, rubbing with water when you are complete.


Vinegar is a miracle when it comes it cleaning and degreasing. You can use apple cider vinegar, but white works better. To clean with white vinegar, you can dilute it in a spray bottle with 50% water. This will clean most surfaces including windows, countertops, doorknobs and stainless steel. The smell can be a little overpowering at first. To counteract this, you can add a few drops of essential oils that can be purchased in a health food store or online. Another surprising use for vinegar is to clean your coffee pot. Mix 50% vinegar and 50% water and run it through your drip pot to clean out old coffee residue.

Castile Soap

Castile soap is an all natural chemical free soap that is made from olive oil, laurel tress and soda. It is so safe that it can be used to clean and disinfect wounds. Instead of buying your dish soap, in a pump bottle use castile liquid soap instead. It cleans your dirty dishes and also won’t dry out our hands like store purchased dish soap with harsh chemicals.

Home Improvement Convention Hacks

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Home improvement conventions are a great way to get ideas for upgrades to your home. If you have never been to a home improvement convention before, you may not know what to expect. It can be a little overwhelming the first time you attend. Luckily, we are able to offer you some great tips and advice for attending a home improvement convention.

Saving Time

Home improvement conventions can be really crowded. We suggest that you get to the location early. This can ensure good parking and also you can beat the rush of people at the door. Research to see if you can preorder your tickets. This will save a ton of time by not having to stand in ticket lines. Be sure to pick up a map of all the home improvement booths. You can plan out what vendors you want to visit first before the crowds start building. This way, you get personalized attention. It gives you extra time to ask questions and gather informational brochures. Bring an extra large bag to pack a refillable water bottle and snacks. Waiting in line at the convention center cafeteria can use up a good portion of your day. It may be tempting to dress up for a home improvement convention because you never know who you are going to run into. We strongly urge you not to. Comfortable clothes and especially shoes are important because you will be on your feet all day. Comfort over fashion for these events.


Don’t be afraid to ask vendors at this event important questions. An important one is “how long have you been in business?” Experience of a contractor is crucial when you are hiring for work on you home. This is going to help keep your project on time and also on budget. Be sure to get their business card and research them online when you are home. Pay special attention to customer reviews. Websites like Angie’s List is a great way to get unbiased customer experiences. You can find out about their licenses or any other credentials this way. Being able to obtain permits and inspections is an important part of home improvement. Ask your potential contractor if they have experience with applying for permits. A good contractor will also be able to explain the technical language in each permit to you.


You may want to google questions to ask contractors and print it before going to the home improvement convention so there are important things you forget to ask. Workmanship guarantees are a great thing to ask about when talking to vendors. These can vary anywhere from 6 months to a few years. This normally has to do with defective materials or poor workmanship. This guarantee should be in writing. Getting this notarized is a great idea too, so you are protected in case anything goes wrong during the construction process. Worksite scheduling is something that should be discussed early on. Ask your potential contractor when their day will start and end. Just as most jobs go, there should standard hours. Sometimes circumstances may change, such as rain or an unexpected problem with the remodel. Being on the same page with your potential contractors can clear up some conflicts before they happen. Asking for a contract before the work begins is another great idea. Include the scope of the work, timeline and all of the supplies needed. Things are always going to go wrong when you are renovating your home, but having a contract keeps you protected in the long run.

Tips For How To Save Money

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We all know how life is very expensive. But, it doesn’t have to be. Learning how to save money is an important step to your financial freedom. It gives you a cushion of savings for your future needs. Our techniques of how to save money aren’t huge. They are little steps that add up over time. Some are easy and take only a few minutes of your time. By applying these tips for how to save money, you will be surprised how much extra money it adds to your bank account.


Homemade gifts are a great idea for how to save money. Not only are they very inexpensive, but they are more meaningful than anything that you can buy in a store. You can find resources online for how to make food mixes, candles, fresh-baked bread, cookies, soap, picture frames or all kinds of other items. Your gifts will be more appreciated then others because of the thought and time you put into them. Also, you aren’t paying a ton of money for them.

Grocery Lists

Make a list before you go to the grocery store. Without a list, you sometimes make impulse buys that add up over time. This wastes money initially, and in the long run because many time these buys don’t get eaten and end up in the trash. Making a weekly meal plan is another way how to save money. It keeps your family from eating out and paying top dollar for meals. It is also healthier for your family to make meals at home. Even better yet, invest in a crock pot. You can cook a large batch of food and freeze it for meals all week.

Used Items

Before you head out to a retail store, think about searching for what you need used. There are tons of used sporting goods stores, used game stores, consignment stores and flea markets. Another way of how to save money is to check these second hard stores first. If there is something specific you are looking for, call these stores in advance to save even more money on gasoline. Many people donate items that are close to new at these types of stores.


If you are always buying name brand food at the grocery store, try switching to generic or store brand. In most cases, the quality of the products is exactly the same. With name brand items, the extra expense you are paying for is the marketing and packaging. This little switch can save you a lot of money on your monthly grocery bill.


Packing your lunch for work may sound like a lot of work, but it actually isn’t. It just takes a little bit of planning. Not going out to eat at lunch can save you $50 a week, depending on what you normally purchase. Weeknight leftovers can make an easy lunch to bring to work. Another good tip is not to buy coffee at a coffee shop. Start using the one at your office. Or brew your own at home and bring to work in a travel mug.

Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies bought at a grocery store or a drug store can be very expensive. Again with these, you are paying for the marketing and packaging. With some research online and empty spray bottles, you can make your own cleaning chemicals at home. They are just as effective as the ones you are buying at the store, and actually safer for your family. The store bought versions contain a lot of chemicals that give off harmful fumes. The ones that you make at home are made of natural ingredients that are safe for your family.

Landscape Your Backyard Like A Pro

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Investing in your backyard landscaping is a great way to add value to your home. Your backyard landscaping can be a little tricky with the hot and humid Florida weather. The key is to use plants and flowers that are Florida-friendly. We have some tips to help you maximize your backyard landscaping potential this year.


Because of all of the rain that Florida gets, you can save money and time by skipping the fertilizer. The fertilizer that you use on your backyard landscaping can actually be a huge danger to the environment. The rain can wash your fertilizer into the bays, lagoons, rivers, lakes and oceans. Florida soil is unique and contains very fine sand. Knowing this fact, plant your backyard landscaping with plants that grow well in this climate. Some good examples are Palm Trees, Milkweed, Honeysuckle and Firebush.


One problem that you may have in your backyard landscaping is brown dry patches in your grass. Visit your local garden center and purchase some iron and micronutrient supplements. They work in two important ways. They help your grass stay healthy and green and also curbs excessive growth. You won’t have to cut your grass as much in the Florida heat.


Buying weed killer can really eat away at your budget. Instead, you can make your own weed killer that is just as effective as store bought ones. Our recipe consists of 3 cups vinegar, ½ cup salt and 1 tablespoon liquid dish detergent. First add the salt to the vinegar and let it dissolve before adding the soap. Use a spray bottle to spray the mixture on any unwanted weeds.


When purchasing plants for your backyard landscaping at your local nursery, choose plants that are full sun and drought tolerant. Your best best is to choose plants that are native to Florida. They can withstand the Florida sun in summer months. Keep in mind the size of mature plants. You want to leave plenty of space when planting to prevent crowding. This will also help you in the future so you don’t have to prune as much to give your plants room to grow. Another great tip is to purchase smaller, slow growing trees. They cost less initially and their smaller stature helps them withstand storm damage better. Some of our favorite are the Crape Myrtle, Dogwood or Hydrangea. They also yield beautiful flowers that have beautiful, blooming flowers.

Decorative Items

Because grass is difficult to maintain in the Florida heat, we suggest using other items that don’t require as much maintenance. Gravel, stones and reclaimed wood look great in pathways. You could also add a rock garden or a water feature to spruce up your lawn. Some of these more permanent solutions can be expensive when you purchase them new. Instead, you can recycle old bricks or river rocks and use them in your backyard landscaping. Planters can be created out of pallets or old crates and add a vintage feel.


Mulch provides not only a great look but it also works well for the health of your plants. Mulch helps moderate the soil temperature. It keeps roots warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. It also keeps moisture in the soil. This helps maintain your trees, especially in the warm summer months.


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