Paint, Debt and Getting Things Finished

paintingRedecorating your home can be more than your budget can cope with but by using paint and a dollop of flair you can sparkle up a tired room without spending what you can’t afford. Usually however so much opposition gets in the way of just redecorating that it’s worth a look at how that can happen and what is needed to overcome the counteraction.

Today the temptation to spend excessively is encouraged by every avenue imaginable and you can easily think that to be successful you have to have loads of furniture/appliances and other paraphernalia plus the sleep-eroding debt-worries that go with it. A sensible approach is required to guide your through the morass of living on credit with your salary used to pay off debt. By forward planning, careful budgeting and a willingness to live in the moment you will achieve a comfortable way of life and not be crushed with repayments for folly purchases. If you are constantly racing through today to get to tomorrow, next week or “somewhere else” because that’s where you think the solution is, then take a deep breath and reconsider.

Once a plan is in place, its systematic execution is what obtains the end product. If you have despaired of ever being able to purchase those Louis XIV chairs or Persian carpets for the front hall, then used that as the reason why you live in a drab home then you’re in danger of becoming the effect of your own inabilities. You may never be able to afford antiques, but you most certainly do not need to feel you can’t win.

Getting over that first hurdle of realising you’re not as wealthy as Croesus then recovering from the shock that you may never be, no matter how long you slave, will take some time. However once that’s done you can again revisit the problem of how to improve your home. It would be wonderful to twitch your nose and “ping” there stands the newly painted walls. However practical application is the only way to get it really done.

Painting walls is cheap, can totally rejuvenate a space and doesn’t need vast technical knowledge. The variety of paint techniques which one can use is endless and every single creative jolt of juice you have in your body can be expended in their composition. The colour scheme you choose depends on how brave you are. So many people are dying to try tangerine or plum, but they are so bound by what the family/friends/parents will say that they’re frightened back into ivory and mushroom and mute tones. These do go of course, but homes tend to be awash by these safe colours.

Experimenting with colour can be a disaster, but humans tend to learn from their “oopses” and unless you step off the cliff occasionally, how else will you find out if what you thought was perfect, was? Yes, it would be wonderful to hire a terribly learned colour coordinator who has spent years studying the colour wheel and knows which reds go, but your budget wouldn’t stand it so you’d still have a drab room. Spending time wishing you had what you can’t afford doesn’t solve the problem it just makes you miserable which then has you reaching for the ice-cream tub and your hips definitely know you can’t afford that.

Top Ten Reasons to Shop at Your Local Stores

shoppingIt may seem like those days are gone forever, lost in a sea of big box stores and faceless cashiers, but the local movement has been making a comeback in recent years From concerns about suburban sprawl to worries about the environment, there are many reasons why shoppers have been taking a step away from the big box mentality and giving their local shops another look. If you doubt the value of acting locally, just take a look at the top 10 ways shopping local helps the community, the economy, and the environment.

1) Local stores give back to the community. Local merchants give back to the community in a variety of different ways, from buying those Little League uniforms to serving as mentors for youths who might otherwise turn to a life of crime. No matter how good their intentions, big box stores simply cannot match the level of commitment and community involvement local stores can provide.

2) Local communities help to support the local tax base. When the tax base suffers, everyone in the community suffers, so supporting local merchants is good for everyone in the community. Many communities that have seen their downtowns decimated have also experienced a spike in local taxes, so patronizing your local stores can be good for your bottom line.

3) Local stores carry unique merchandise not handled by the big box stores. Big box stores by their very nature can only carry so much merchandise, and that means you may not be able to find the unique items you need there. Local stores know the needs of their customers, and they are able to order accordingly.

4) Local stores give character to the community. We have all had the experience of driving across the state or across the country, only to experience a disconcerting sameness. The downtown communities used to offer a relief from that generic look, and downtowns can thrive again if each of us does our part.

5) Buying from local merchants provides personal interaction that big box stores simply cannot match. Personal interaction is a big part of the buying experience, and local merchants can provide that personal interaction. The entire purchasing process can be much more satisfying when you actually know the store owner and his or her family.

6) Local stores employ your friends and neighbors. When you buy from local merchants you are helping to keep members of your community, from your friends in the church to your colleagues on the Chamber of Commerce.

7) Local stores can lessen the environmental impact of retailing. We have all seen the big box stores move into town and buy up the local farms and other open land. Local merchants tend to have less of an impact on the environment, so buying local can be good for the Earth as well.

8) Local stores provide better choices for consumers. While every big box store stocks the same merchandise, local merchants can afford to be a little more creative. If there is a product you have to have, chances are your local store owners will be able to find just what you need.

9) Store owners plow money back into the community. The owners of local businesses have a vested interest in the long term health of their communities, and they know that when their communities thrive they thrive as well. Local store owners have a commitment to their communities that no big box retailer can match.

10) Local stores provide peace of mind. When you buy from a local merchant you know where your merchandise is coming from, and that can provide real peace of mind. This can be particularly important when it comes to grocery stores – being able to talk to the owner about where the meat and produce came from can give you real peace of mind.

Some Ways to Save Money at the Grocery Store

bag-groceryWith grocery prices on the rise it has never been more important for families to save money where they can. The prices of many basic staples have risen sharply in recent years, and that has left many people struggling to serve their families the nutritious meals they need.

Fortunately there are some relatively easy and painless steps families can take to trim their food budgets significantly without sacrificing either quality or nutrition. By changing the ways they plan and shop, smart consumers can save hundreds of dollars a month while still preparing tasty meals for those they love.

Build Your Recipes Around the Weekly Sales

One of the most effective cost savings strategies is to build the weekly recipes around what is on special at the store. This strategy allows shoppers to stock u p on products at a great price while significantly shrinking the cost of each meal.

Just about every grocery store features weekly specials, and stores frequently compete with one another to offer the lowest possible prices on the products shoppers buy most often.. In some cases stores use these weekly bargains as loss leaders – luring shoppers through the doors in hopes that they will purchase more expensive products with higher margins In other cases stores use these discounts to reward loyal shoppers who participate in the store’s loyalty card programs No matter what the reason for the sale, savvy shoppers can use these specials to create some great recipes.

Just consider one example to illustrate the point. Imagine the local grocery store is running a killer special on pasta, pasta sauce and fresh sausage. The smart shopper can use these great prices to build a week’s worth of delicious meals. The week may start with a great meal of fresh spaghetti and pasta sauce garnished with some delicious sausage. That leftover spaghetti can then be paired with a great sausage casserole or a delicious rice and pasta creation. Sausage sandwiches topped with a delicious homemade sauce can provide some great snacks, weekend meals or meals on the run. No matter what the combination those weekly store specials can be used to create some great meals for a very affordable price. Cooking extra meals and freezing them for later can make the savings stretch even further.

Consider Off-Price Grocery Stores

While store specials are a great way to build some delicious meals and save some serious dough, those specials don’t always come when they are needed. Many traditional grocery stores have started marking up their shelf prices to make their sales look better, and that means that the items not on sale can be quite costly. To combat these types of practices many smart shoppers are looking to off-price grocery stores and generic items to fill the gap.