5 Tips on How to Store Winter Clothes

Sewing is not something everyone is fluent in, and let’s face it — it is a time-consuming and often frustrating activity. Fortunately, with the right resources, you can easily repair your winter items before storing them with iron-on patches. (Here’s a side gig opportunity for you sewers out there. Offer to make these repairs for friends or the winter sports community for cash, of course.)
Most department stores stock iron-on patches, making it as simple as heading to your local Walmart or Joann Fabrics to quickly and economically get your winter clothes ready for long-term storage.

5 Ways to Get More Life Out Cold Weather Clothes

Patagonia offers a free repair for all of its branded clothing, for example. All you need to do is submit a repair assessment form and Patagonia will pay for the shipping and repair of your item.
You may be tempted to stuff that down parka in a box and store it in the attic. After all, you want that closet space for summer clothes. But don’t. Down needs to breathe. Follow the tips below but let the coat hang loose in the closet. When you’re ready to wear it again, and doesn’t that come too soon, toss it in the dryer on low for about 10 minutes.

1. Repair Before You Pack

To wash a down jacket, aim to use a front-loading washer (top-loading washer drums can sometimes agitate or distort down items). Place the down jacket in the washer with like items (ahem, your other winter clothes), set the wash and rinse setting to cold water, and use a down-specific detergent.
One unique trait of winter clothing is that much of it is waterproof or water-resistant. This comes in handy during snowstorms, sleet and slush that are trademarks of the year’s most frigid months.
There are tons of waterproofing products on the market to protect your winter gear. Many exist in the form of sprays or paint-on coatings that dry quickly and do not impact the look or feel of the clothing. Most cost under and will help your winter clothes last for numerous snowstorms to come.
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Whether you’re hoping to make your winter wardrobe more resistant to the elements or protect a particularly cozy sweater from the cold, making the investment in waterproofing before storing winter clothes will help you save time and money next year and beyond.
Being proactive is rarely a bad thing. In this case, taking steps to prevent winter clothes-loving critters like moths and mice will pay dividends in keeping your winter gear creature-free.

2. Prepare for the Next Snowstorm … a Year in Advance

REI also makes it easy to extend the life of your winter gear before storing it into a closet. Whether you have a backpack, jacket, shirt, or winter shoes  that could use some love, REI has you covered and will provide you with a free estimate for any repairs.
Instead, make your first stop in storing winter clothes the repair shop. And thanks to nationally available programs, fixing a rip or tear doesn’t have to cost you a fortune.
Wool coats, however, can be stored in bug-proof garment bags and stored in the attic or basement. Read on for more tips.
It may seem obvious, but giving winter gear a once-over with detergent or other cleaning supplies will help winter coats, winter shoes, and other cold-weather items to maintain their textile integrity and bonus —  it will help keep clothes smelling fresh for the next time you pull them out and over your head.
The sting of winter’s cold is finally giving way to the warmer, sunnier days of spring. As the seasons change, so too does our wardrobe. Goodbye parka, hello light sweater. It’s a welcome change for many of us to store our winter clothes and not give them a second thought for many months.

3. Bring the Heat to the Cold

Winter is a harsh season. For many of us, it entails snow, wind, mud and sidewalk salt. All of these can impact the integrity of your favorite winter clothes.
To ward off moths and other bugs, spend less than on a bag of cedar chips. Place the chips in the storage bin, plastic bag, or closet where you are storing winter clothes and let the refreshing cedar scent not only soothe your nose, but naturally ward off undesirable insects. Cedar will not damage clothes or alter them, either, making it a cheap way to keep winter clothes fresh.
Ensuring that down-filled products — and all winter gear — are entirely dry before storing them in a closet for months is critical. Down products can go in a low-heat dryer. For other products such as shoes and boots, using a low-heat setting on a hairdryer or good ole’ air drying should suffice.
But knowing how to store winter clothes is key to making garments last beyond one season. Down parkas can cost anywhere from 0 to ,000. No matter what you spend, you don’t want to flush that money away. Taking care to store winter clothes with an eye for longevity can help turn your one-season parka purchase into a multi-decade investment, saving you hundreds  — if not thousands — of dollars over the years.

Depending on how big the tear is, a tailor might charge to . If you have a good relationship with a cleaners, their tailor might make the fix for less. On a less expensive coat, the repair might not be worth it but if you’ve paid 0 or more and only worn the coat for one season, consider the repair.

4. Ward Off the Vermin

Colorado-based writer Kristin Jenny focuses on lifestyle and wellness. She is a regular contributor to The Penny Hoarder.
Instead of chucking those winter boots into a closet and hoping for the best, be proactive  by restoring waterproof abilities prior to tossing in a storage container.
Iron-on patches are extremely cheap — often less than —and only require a hot iron in order to be effective.
Storing winter clothes is a process that should be done with some thought and should not be a haphazard process of tossing things into plastic bags, shoving them under the bed, and calling it good.
Although bugs are typically the main culprit in clothing destruction, mice are not uncommon predators to winter clothing in long term storage or hastily-packed storage bins.

5. Keep it Clean

Winter clothing is rarely cheap and is often a budget-altering expense. From boots costing over 0 to specialized pants and accessories starting in the -range, it is to your benefit to know how to store winter clothes. When done correctly, you’ll have gear that lasts for years —if not decades — and will save you enough money to perhaps take that ski trip you’ve always dreamed about.
There are a variety of iron-on patches to choose from, with some made specific for nylon gear, some for jeans, and others for standard cotton clothing.
For synthetic and water-resistant products like Gore-Tex, a damp towel with some gentle soap should be enough to wipe away a winter’s worth of grime. The same goes for many winterized shoes and winter boots.
Even the most durable of winter gear can rip, snag or tear. While programs like those of Patagonia and REI will assist in repairing everything from damaged clothing to worn winter boots, sometimes it can be easier and more efficient to fix a small hole yourself.
For just about , you can purchase these ultrasonic sensors to put in your closet, small space, or attic and know that your winter gear will be safe for another season.
Outside of mouse traps, ultrasonic mice repellent sensors are a natural and slightly less grisly way to defend against these four-legged foe.
Nothing lasts forever, including the waterproof coating that protects much of the winter gear you’re getting ready to put into a storage bin.

Our Seasonal Guide to the Best Outdoor Gear Deals

Planning a vacation in the great outdoors in the next year? Now’s the time to start thinking about new gear and how you can get it for less.

Outdoor equipment can be pricey, but buying it at the right time of the year can get you the gear you covet at a better price. The savings will give you more cash to spend on the outdoor adventures themselves.

We’ve noted national retailers as good sources, however you might be able to get better details from Facebook’s Marketplace or Nextdoor for secondhand equipment. At Gear Trade you can buy both new and used equipment.

It’s time to get out there.

Guide to Buying Outdoor Gear at the Right Time

Ski Equipment

Best time to buy: Fall and March

Details: When ski shops shut down for the season, they usually have to clear out the inventory. Many of these stores stay in the outdoor gear business year-round, converting to bicycle or camping gear stores come spring and summer. But there’s always the question of what to do with all the bulky skis and snowboards that are left. The answer is usually to sell them cheaply. While the selection might not be great post-ski season, the prices are. Another option is to buy used ski equipment via GearTrade.com. Every week that an item doesn’t sell, the price drops so you can watch your favorite items until the price is right (unless someone else snags it first).

You’ll save: 50-60 percent

Where to buy it: Backcountry; REI; Gear Trade

Camping Equipment (Mostly Tents, Things to Sleep On)

Best time to buy: September

Details: In September, retailers don’t typically have many people clamoring to buy camping gear because it’s getting cold in much of the country, and they want to sell as much as possible, Priobrazhenskiy says. November through January are also good times to purchase when people are searching for holiday gifts. If you have a last-minute outing, you can find discounted items in late August as well, says Andrew Priobrazhenskiy, the CEO of DiscountReactor, an e-commerce business.

You’ll save: 50 percent

Where to buy: REI;  Dick’s Sporting Goods

Seasonal Sports Clothes (Ski Coats, Bathing Suits, Hiking Clothes and More)

Best time to buy: May

Details: If you wait until July or August, you’ll also be able to get your hands on great sale options and discounts as well, says Priobrazhenskiy.

You’ll save: 50 percent

Where to buy: REI;  Patagonia; Moosejaw

Outdoor Cooking Gear

Best time to buy: February, June and August

Details: These items such as camp stoves and cooking supplies and utensils tend to go on sale during these months. This is when most people plan their camping and outdoor trips, and retailers want to snag the business, Priobrazhenskiy says.

You’ll save: Up to 60 percent

Where to buy: Dick’s Sporting Goods

Stand Up Paddleboards, Surf Boards, Kiteboards, Windsurfers

Best time to buy: August

Details: Purchasing your water sports equipment at the end of the summer is best because many stores hold end-of-season clearance sales, says Holly Appleby, a marine conservation researcher and surf instructor who runs Ocean Today, a project dedicated to ocean education. If you purchase at the end of the season, however, ensure you have adequate storage for your new equipment. Surfboards and paddleboards should be stored out of the sun in a cool, dry place, Appleby says. And while many items can be purchased secondhand, Appleby cautions against purchasing water sports equipment this way. “Purchasing secondhand usually means you can get good deals year-round, but while you’ll likely save money, there’s a chance the safety of the item has been compromised,” she says.

You’ll save: 40 percent

Where to buy: Dick’s Sporting Goods; REI

Kayaks and Canoes

Best time to buy: End of August

Details: The prime season for paddling around lakes, rivers and other waterways in much of the United States is August. So the end of August is a great time to buy a discounted kayak, canoe or other piece of paddle equipment. Don’t want to store it for a year before you’ll get to use it? Memorial Day usually draws major lake equipment sales, as does Christmas. The worst time to purchase these items is spring, when the new inventory arrives in the stores. Often, you can find used paddling craft and equipment on Craigslist or on local Facebook groups for half the price during the spring and fall months.

Two people kayak in the water.
Getty Images

You’ll save: 40-50 percent

Where to buy: REI; Cabela’s

Hiking Gear

Best time to buy: March and April

Details: The majority of sporting goods retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shops and Camping World will have closeouts in the spring to make room for new gear and accessories for hiking such as boots, packs, navigation tools and trekking poles, says Vipin Porwal, founder and consumer savings expert at Smarty and Smarty Plus. “It’s very important to take advantage of any available savings with trending coupons and rewards like cash back in order to assure the best price, regardless of the stores you’re shopping in,” Porwal says.

You’ll save: 10-40 percent

Where to buy: Dick’s Sporting Goods; Bass Pro Shops; Camping World

Bicycles and Helmets

Best time to buy: Fall

Details: This is when the stores get rid of the previous summer stock and to make room for new models. But you can also get good deals on Black Friday and around the Christmas season. If you’re looking for a specialist bike, such as a mountain bike or a road bike, these will be on sale whenever they’re out of race season (usually the winter months). Save even more by asking to purchase a demo bike. These are the bikes that shops lend to prospective buyers. They tend to be well-maintained, and are the equivalent of an open box item in an electronics store.

You’ll save: 20-35 percent

Where to buy: You should purchase bicycles at a local store to get the correct fit.

Fishing Gear

Best time to buy: February

Details: About two months after the December holiday season is the sweet spot: It’s too early to fish in much of the country except for all but hardy ice anglers and stores need to sell off their older gear. Make sure to look in the used sections as well because that’s where better deals can be found.

You’ll save: 25-40 percent

Where to buy: Cabela’s; Bass Pro Shops

Car Racks to Carry It All

Best time to buy: November

Details: Black Friday is the best time to snag racks for bikes, watercraft, skis, snowboards and more, but you’ll rarely see these for more than 20 percent off. Want a better deal? Look for these on EBay or Craigslist, or scour local Facebook Marketplace listings. These are sturdy so you don’t typically have to worry about it being damaged and often, people will use theirs for a trip or two before getting rid of it.

You’ll save: 20 percent

Where to buy: REI; Backcountry

Danielle Braff is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

10 Cities Near Boston To Live in 2021

The enchanting city of Boston is a beacon of history and culture. From the Freedom Trail to the thriving Financial District, the many charms of this city attract hopeful renters from across the globe. But one look at the average rent prices in Boston may leave you searching for less expensive relocation options.

Whether you are cost-conscious or prefer to live away from the big city vibe, rest assured that there are plenty of cities near Boston where you can still enjoy the best of this world-renowned region.

Here are 10 wonderful cities near Boston with access to the metropolis and unique charms of their own.

Newton, MA. Newton, MA.

  • Distance from downtown Boston: 9.9 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,641 (down 9.6 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $3,453 (down 11.8 percent since last year)

Newton is a quintessential New England town with 13 unique neighborhoods, charmingly called Newton’s “13 villages.” The communities offer something for every taste — from Chestnut Hill with its farmlands and chestnut trees to the prosperous business district of West Newton.

West Newton claims a convenient stop on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Commuter Rail, allowing Newton residents to bypass some truly awful Boston traffic and arrive in Back Bay in under 20 minutes.

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Concord, MA, one of the cities near bostonConcord, MA, one of the cities near boston

  • Distance from downtown Boston: 20 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,856 (up 5.8 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,725 (down 0.3 percent since last year)

The city of Concord is a fascinating mix of early-American history and modern natural wonders. The Concord Museum captures the uniqueness of the town since its incorporation in 1635, including Concord’s essential role in the American Revolutionary War. Historic houses in Concord display a charming style of architecture unique to New England.

The Walden Pond State Reservation offers locals and tourists a great place to hit the trails and go for a swim at lake beaches.

Outdoor adventures in Concord pair well with an inspiring visit to Thoreau House, the site of the transcendentalist poet’s home, and the legendary Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

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Natick, MA. Natick, MA.

  • Distance from downtown Boston: 21 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,118 (down 5.8 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,606 (down 5.7 percent since last year)

Natick is known for its Natick Town Center, a charming downtown with historic brick buildings and a cozy atmosphere. Residents enjoy many benefits, including access to a Community Center, the Sassamon Trace Golf Course and Memorial Beach.

On the opposite side of the town exists an entirely different scene with the massive Natick Mall. This shopping center draws in both business and excitement as the largest mall in Massachusetts.

Residents have the best of both worlds, with lovely farmlands in the eastern parts of Natick and the liveliness of the commercial area to the northwest.

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Salem, MA, one of the cities near bostonSalem, MA, one of the cities near boston

  • Distance from downtown Boston: 22.2 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,444 (up 0.5 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $3,049 (up 9.5 percent since last year)

Best known for being the home of the Salem Witch Trials, Salem is rich in history.

The downtown and harbor areas comprise a wide web of streets offering countless shops, restaurants and museums. For a change of theme, visitors can explore worldwide art and culture on display at the Peabody Essex Museum and the historic House of the Seven Gables.

While the height of Salem’s excitement peaks in the month-long celebrations in October, locals enjoy year-round nightlife and a vibrant party scene.

A change of pace is easy to find with the numerous seaside beaches and the expansive nature preservatory at Salem Woods.

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Framingham, MA. Framingham, MA.

  • Distance from downtown Boston: 22.7 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,876 (down 7.7 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,357 (down 15.2 percent since last year)

Framingham is a commercial hub that acts as a midway point between Boston in the east and mini-metropolis Worcester farther to the west. In addition to its strategic location, Framingham residents enjoy in-town attractions such as the Garden in the Woods and Jack’s Abbey brewery.

Framingham has several residential neighborhoods and is a popular town for city commuters as the MBTA Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail offers a comfortable ride to both Boston and Worcester.

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Boxborough, MA, one of the cities near bostonBoxborough, MA, one of the cities near boston

Photo source: Boxborough, MA / Facebook
  • Distance from downtown Boston: 29 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,806 (down 17.8 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,868 (down 21.6 percent since last year)

The cozy town of Boxborough is ideal for those wishing to partake in the joys of countryside life while keeping the conveniences of the big city within distance.

Locals here enjoy charming estates, lush greenery and a close-knit community. For schooling and other purposes, this town is often combined with nearby Acton as the Acton-Boxborough area.

Nature lovers enjoy the numerous Boxborough farms selling locally-grown produce. A breath of the wild is always at hand for residents who have access to in-town parks such as Flerra Meadows and the nearby Wachusett Mountain with its hiking trails and ski slopes.

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foxboro mafoxboro ma

  • Distance from downtown Boston: 30.1 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,144 (up 0.9 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $3,067 (down 5.3 percent since last year)

Written officially as “Foxborough,” locals refer to this town as “Foxboro” and the “Home of the New England Patriots.” The stunning Gillette Stadium here is the base of Massachusetts’ most beloved football team. During a game, locals across Massachusetts know to give Foxboro a wide berth as the traffic is as legendary as the team playing.

Luckily, Foxboro locals don’t have to leave town to have a great time. The expansive Patriot Place shopping plaza surrounding the stadium offers thrills such as an escape room and a themed cafe.

Fans of nature aren’t left out here — the Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog, as well as the numerous bucolic farms and scenic landscape nearby, offer much to explore.

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Bridgewater, MA, one of the cities near bostonBridgewater, MA, one of the cities near boston

  • Distance from downtown Boston: 32.3 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,878 (up 1.1 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,211 (up 1.5 percent since last year)

A college town with a youthful vibe and lively downtown, Bridgewater is home to Bridgewater State University and boasts the high energy and hip scene of an international campus.

Bridgewater and neighboring towns East Bridgewater and West Bridgewater are great midway points between Boston and Cape Cod.

Residents can take the MBTA Commuter Rail from Bridgewater Station to reach the big city in under an hour or enjoy a scenic drive over the Bourne Bridge to bask on the Cape beaches.

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Gloucester, MA. Gloucester, MA.

  • Distance from downtown Boston: 36.2 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: N/A
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,760 (0.0 percent change since last year)

Located on Cape Ann, Gloucester is a dream come true for those who want to live by the sea. This peninsula paradise has beaches on two sides and is right next to the famous town of Rockport. Locals enjoy fresh seafood and an artsy scene — many creative souls appreciate the breathtaking scenery these towns have to offer.

Keep in mind that summer is the high season for coastal towns like Gloucester, and many of the beachy parts of Cape Ann cater to tourists and elderly snowbirds. While Gloucester is not as touristy as Rockport, year-round residents here should expect the liveliness of summer and a much quieter reprieve in winter.

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Plymouth, MA, one of the cities near bostonPlymouth, MA, one of the cities near boston

  • Distance from downtown Boston: 39.8 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,151 (up 2.8 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,700 (up 4.5 percent since last year)

Often referred to as “America’s hometown,” Plymouth, founded by the Pilgrims in 1620, offers rich history alongside spectacular views of the ocean. The Mayflower II is on display in the downtown memorial park, not far from the monument protecting Plymouth Rock.

Enthusiasts of early American history will enjoy exploring the world-renowned Plimouth Plantation, where Plymouth residents enjoy a steep discount.

Locals and tourists alike love strolling downtown Plymouth with its waterfront shops and a picturesque harbor. Outside of the main commercial areas, scenic cranberry bogs and numerous nature parks dot the landscape.

Business picks up around Thanksgiving time, but unlike many other coastal parts of Massachusetts that host seasonal residents, Plymouth enjoys a steady population year-round.

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Make one of these cities near Boston your home city

Between a prosperous city life and oceanside charms, it is no wonder that Boston and its surrounding area have some of the most sought-after real estate in the country. Whether you want to bask in the rich history of the region or live an idyllic life by the sea, you can find your ideal place in one of these great cities near Boston.

Properties are in high demand, and space is exclusive, so start looking for your new home today.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Daylight Saving Fall 2013: 5 Things to Remember in Your Apartment

Don’t forget: Daylight Saving Time ends on the first Sunday in November. That’s this weekend! As we prepare to welcome earlier sunsets, take the opportunity to take care of a few things around your apartment:

[find-an-apartment]

1. Set the clocks back an hour.

Obviously, this is the most important thing you have to do, or else you’ll be an hour early for everything. However, you don’t have to worry about it if you live in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or most of Arizona – these places don’t observe Daylight Saving Time.

Fun fact: Indiana used to be divided on the DST issue – half the state would observe it, the other half would not. But since 2006, the entire state has changed the clocks twice a year, just like most of the country.

2. Replace the batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector.

When you change the clocks, the National Fire Protection Association recommends you also take precautions to guard your safety in case of a fire or carbon monoxide leak. These devices can save your life, so you want to make sure your batteries are functioning properly.

3. Make a few energy-efficiency improvements.

The end of Daylight Saving Time means winter isn’t far away, so take on a few DIY projects to keep your apartment cozy during the cold months without running up your energy bills. After all, Daylight Saving Time was invented to save energy!

  • Cover your windows with insulating curtains that keep cold drafts out.
  • Wrap your water heater in an insulated jacket so water stays warmer with less energy.
  • Replace the weather stripping under your exterior doors and windows.
    Keep candles and matches ready in case there's a power outage.Keep candles and matches ready in case there's a power outage.
    Keep candles and matches ready in case there’s a power outage.

4. Make an emergency kit for your apartment.

Snowstorms and other inclement weather in the wintertime can lead to power outages, and sometimes they last a while. Make sure you have everything you’ll need if you’re stuck inside with no power: Blankets, bottled water, flashlights, extra batteries, candles, and a good book.

5. Take care of yourself!

Even though it’s just one hour, a time shift can confuse your body. Those who are susceptible to erratic sleep patterns should be extra careful to give themselves enough time to rest.

Speaking of health, we have more tips to keep yourself healthy this winter:

See you on March 9, 2014, when we move the clocks forward again!

How do you feel about Daylight Saving Time? Love it or loathe it? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Photo credit: Shutterstock / karen roach, GoodMood Photo

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Here Are 8 Home Repairs You Can’t Afford to Ignore

During preparations for her nightly baths, Laura Starrett noticed the water pressure wasn’t as strong as it once was. She had also received an alert from her utility company that she had used more water that month than she had before.

“Then I realized I’d left my sprinklers on and they were running every day, so I thought that’s why I got an alert that I was using a lot of water,” said the recently retired homeowner in Jacksonville, Florida.

So she turned the sprinklers off.

Then Starrett got another alert saying her water bill was going to be $1,000. A plumber came out, listened to the pipes and heard water running. Turns out, a backyard pipe was leaking.

“You just hope it will go away,” Starrett said. “But I knew there had to be something because your water just doesn’t just disappear.”

According to a survey by Travelers insurance company, 42% of homeowners put off a needed repair during 2020. Much of it was the concern about having someone in their house during the pandemic. Of those, 19% said they tried to fix the problem themselves and failed, and 22% just left it broken.

That can lead to a bigger and often more expensive problem, says Angela Orbann, vice president of property and personal insurance at Travelers.

“I typically think of this as what’s cosmetic versus really critical, and sometimes that can be a fine line for a homeowner,” she said. “You shouldn’t delay things that can lead to bigger issues.”

8 Home Repairs You Can’t Afford to Put Off

1. Anything Involving Water

A water spot on the wall or ceiling can mean a leaky roof or a leaky pipe. If not fixed, the leak will just get bigger and can destroy floors, walls, furniture and more.

“Any time you notice a stain, those should be addressed immediately because that indicates you potentially have moisture entering your home. Moisture in small amounts will not turn into mold, but if left, mold and continued damage will occur so it is important to address these situations when they occur,” said home inspector John Wanninger. He and his INSPECTIX team in Nebraska have inspected more than 30,000 homes..

The same goes for a leaky faucet, running toilet or dripping water heater.

“The cost of allowing a running toilet to run will cost more over the course of a month or two than it would have cost to fix it up front,” he said.

Don’t ignore higher-than-normal water bills. As Starrett realized, they were a sign something was wrong somewhere.

2. Anything Involving Electricity

Do you have lights that flicker? Switches or outlets that stopped working? Breakers tripping? GFI outlets that won’t reset?

These can be signs of electrical problems.

“A flickering light can be something as easy as a loose light bulb or it could be something as severe as a loose wire,” Wanninger said. “Any of those things when it comes to electricity should be considered important and time sensitive.”

In houses built between 1965 and 1974, connections in some older aluminum wiring may be failing. Older houses built in the 1950s and before had knob and tube wiring. The connections could be going bad.

Circuits can be overloaded. Sometimes when people update their homes, they don’t update the wiring.

Electrical problems can lead to fires, and fires can lead to injury or property damage.

3. Pests

Bugs and rodents might be small, but they can cause big issues.

“Termites can do an extensive amount of damage over a period of time. If they go undetected for three or four years, minor damage becomes pretty heavy damage,” Wanninger said.

There’s no telling how long pests like termites and carpenter ants have been chewing before you noticed them, so taking immediate action is important.

Be on the lookout for signs of termites and carpenter ants and what they leave behind:

  • Sawdust or wood damage.
  • Mud tubes.
  • Discarded wings near closed windows, doors or other access points.
  • Large black ants.
  • Faint rustling noises in walls.
  • Holes in cardboard boxes, especially on the bottom.

As for furry pests, they can spread diseases with their droppings and can chew through insulation.

“When you hear noises in your attic, it’s often either mice, rats, squirrels, or raccoons. In any case, it’s something that should be addressed immediately because left unattended they can all cause an extensive amount of damage,” Wanninger said.

4. Peeling Caulk and Paint

See #1: Water.

If caulk comes loose and peels away, water gets in and you know what happens then and it isn’t good.

“We don’t think about cracked joints in your tile bathroom. It doesn’t look severe and it doesn’t look like a big issue, but as time goes on, moisture gets in there and deteriorates the shower board and the material behind the wall. Before you know it, you get yourself a $2,000 or $3,000 repair,” Wanninger said.

The same for paint. Paint is like skin for the house. It protects it from water and pests. Removing that protection can cause problems.

5. Broken or Malfunctioning HVAC

Having a lack of climate control isn’t just an uncomfortable inconvenience, it can lead to bigger issues.

“If the humidity is too high in the home, it will pass through the drywall and enter the attic area,” Wanninger said. “If you get moisture on your windows in the wintertime on the inside of the glass in your house, it is an indication your humidity level is too high.”

In the winter, that moisture can freeze and eventually melt, causing a leak. In the summer, excess moisture can lead to mold and mildew.

If you notice your HVAC isn’t working as it should, taking care of it before it breaks can reduce stress on the system and possibly prevent a bigger issue.

6. Cracks

Some cracks in walls and foundations are harmless, but they aren’t something to ignore.

“One thing concrete does is crack, it’s pretty standard,” Wanninger said. “If you get cracks in foundation walls or floors that are considered expansive or starting to displace at a greater level, that may be the indication that you are having structural issues or movements that need to be reviewed before they become a bigger issue.”

Keep an eye on the size of the cracks. Measure the length and width periodically and note any changes.

7. Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

It sounds simple, but replacing batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should happen immediately after they begin chirping, even if it happens in the middle of the night.

“At two o’clock in the morning when the thing does start chirping, your mind says you’ll fix it tomorrow and tomorrow never comes,” Wanninger said.

Better yet, replace your batteries annually when you change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time.

8. Darkening Ceilings Near Fireplaces

If you notice darkening on your ceiling or a sooty smell in your house, it could mean your fireplace isn’t drafting properly. That could bring deadly gasses into the house.

“There’s no second-guessing that. It would cause carbon monoxide poisoning,” Wanninger warned.

Tiffani Sherman is a Florida-based freelance reporter with more than 25 years of experience writing about finance, health, travel and other topics.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

13 Ways a Food Vacuum Sealer Can Save You Money on Groceries

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything. Virtually no market has been left untouched, and that’s especially true of Americans’ grocery shopping and food-related habits.

People are eating at home more often and even baking their own bread. And food preservation systems like vacuum sealers are surging in popularity, according to The Business of Business magazine. It makes sense. With all the stocking up we have to do to limit the number of grocery trips we take, we now need a way to keep all our spoils from spoiling.

With an initial investment of between $20 and $100 or more, depending on type and quality, plus the cost of vacuum-seal bags or storage containers, it costs a little to get started. But ultimately, they can save you much more money in the long run.

Ways a Vacuum Sealer Can Save You Money

One of the selling points of vacuum sealing is that it can help you save money. But can it really save you enough to justify its expense? That depends on what you’re currently doing to save on food and other goods. But if any of these cost-cutting measures would help, the vacuum sealer is probably worth much more than its weight in gold.

1. Eliminate Food Waste

Food waste is a significant problem in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans discard between 30% and 40% of their food.

A separate 2020 study published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics (and covered by Forbes) backed that up, finding that the average household wasted 31.9%. Those researchers estimated this waste to cost the average household $1,866 per year. A family that can cut food waste in half can save nearly $1,000 per year.

And a vacuum sealer can help you do that. For example, you can buy a large package of meat, cook half of it, and vacuum-seal the rest for later in the week.

You can do something similar with other foods, like fresh fruit and vegetables or cheese. Use only the amount you need, then seal the rest for later, and you’ll finally manage to get through every last bite before it goes bad. But wrap cheese in parchment or wax paper before sealing it to absorb the cheese’s natural moisture (which can cause it to deteriorate) and prevent sticking.

For foods you plan to reach for frequently, such as cheese and fruit, use a plastic vacuum-seal container or reusable plastic bag with a handheld model. For foods you plan to use all at once, such as meat, you can use a traditional countertop model with bag rolls, which allow you to create custom-size bags.

2. Buy in Bulk

If you’ve ever been to a warehouse store like Costco, you’re familiar with the absolutely massive packages of food they sell. Buying meat in 20-pound bulk packages can be cheaper than buying it in a grocery store, but what family can eat 20 pounds of beef before it goes bad?

There are just some things you shouldn’t buy in bulk if you can’t eat them quickly enough. But a vacuum sealer changes the game by extending the shelf life of what you buy.

Using a countertop sealer and custom bags from rolls, you can seal and store many kinds of food long term if you follow the best method for each.

  • Meat. Seal meat in meal-size portions. According to United Kingdom vacuum-sealer company Grutto, vacuum-sealed meat lasts up to two weeks in the refrigerator and between two and three years in the freezer. According to FoodSafety.gov, that’s double to triple the time compared to storing without the seal. How long a specific meat lasts depends on the variety. But in general, discard any meat that smells off, has undergone a color change, or feels slimy or sticky.
  • Beans. According to USA Emergency Supply, dry beans can stay good for up to 10 years at room temperature. If you vacuum-seal the beans, which reduces the amount of moisture that can reach them, that can extend their shelf by another 10 years.
  • Rice. White rice has a long shelf life, but brown rice can go bad within six months at room temperature. According to USA Emergency Supply, vacuum-sealing brown rice can extend its life to as long as two years and extend white rice’s shelf life to a full decade.
  • Flours and Meals. Flour usually has a shelf life of about a year, but USA Emergency Supply notes that vacuum-sealing it can make it last for up to five years at room temperature. To seal flour, place it in your freezer for four days to a week to kill any insects or bugs in it. Then, place the flour in a brown paper bag. Label the bag if desired and fold the top over, but don’t roll it down (air must be able to escape). Place the paper bag in a vacuum-seal bag and seal it. Wrapping it in a paper bag first prevents flour from getting sucked into the sealer. Note that the vacuum-sealing process compresses your flour, so this method is best used by those who measure their flour by weight (ounces or grams) rather than volume (cups). You can use the same approach to seal other dry powdered or ground goods, such as cornmeal, corn flour, or breadcrumbs.
  • Cheese. Wrap your cheese in some parchment or wax paper to absorb its natural moisture before sealing. According to online cheese seller Cheesy Place, this storage method can extend cheese’s freshness by months or longer. However, soft cheeses don’t tend to freeze well.

Before you run out and stock up on everything on this list, note that you’re only saving money if you’re getting a good deal on things you’d buy and use anyway.

3. DIY Dump Recipes

Cooking after a long workday is a daunting task. Sometimes, all you want is something simple with as little prep work as possible.

On days when chopping, slicing, and cutting sounds like a colossal chore, dump recipes can help you put a home-cooked meal on the table with minimal effort. All you have to do is dump the ingredients into a casserole dish or slow cooker or scatter them on a sheet pan, no other prep required.

With a vacuum sealer, you can make DIY dump-meal packets and toss them in the fridge or freezer until you need them.

4. Batch Cooking

Mornings can be chaotic, especially if multiple people are trying to get out of the house. But taking some time to batch-cook ensures you have a filling breakfast that doesn’t involve golden arches, even when you’re short on time.

Batch cooking involves spending a day or two, usually over the weekend, whipping up large batches of food for the week or month ahead. And a vacuum sealer makes your batch-cooked food last even longer.

For example, spend a Saturday putting together some vacuum-sealed breakfast pouches with nuke-and-go meals like breakfast burritos, pancakes, or mini-quiches for days when time just isn’t on your side. Just pre-freeze anything that might squash when sealed, such as rolls. You can then store them in either the freezer or fridge.

And batch cooking isn’t just suitable for breakfast foods.

At lunch, being limited to an hour-long break makes it tough to avoid popping out for fast food every day. But things like hand pies, soup, chili, and stir-fries all keep well in a vacuum-sealed packet. Freeze hand pies before sealing to keep them from squashing. For liquids like soups and chilies, pour the contents into a regular zip-close bag and freeze them flat. Then remove them from the zip-close bag, and vacuum-seal them, placing them back in the freezer for long-term storage or in the fridge for use that week.

If you store them in the freezer, transfer them to the refrigerator the night before. By the time lunch rolls around the next day, they should be mostly defrosted, and a microwave can finish the job.

You can even use a vacuum sealer to batch-cook weeknight freezer meals for evenings when cooking just isn’t an option. Batch-cook large quantities of dishes like lasagna, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, or meatballs for spaghetti or subs, and vacuum-seal them in meal-size portions.

For lasagna, meatloaf, and mashed potatoes, pre-freeze them in smaller containers before removing them to a vacuum-sealer bag.

5. Long-Term Leftovers

Cooking large meals means having leftovers. But it can get boring to eat the same thing repeatedly, especially if you make a considerable amount.

Having a vacuum sealer means you can seal and store these leftovers for weeks or months instead of days like you can in the refrigerator.

You can also freeze leftovers into homemade TV dinners. For example, instead of freezing a leftover half of meatloaf, quart of mashed potatoes, and leftover veggies separately, put enough of each for one person into several vacuum-seal storage containers. All you have to do when you want something easy to eat is take it out of the freezer and reheat. They’re perfect for lunches or hectic school nights when you’re eating dinner solo.

6. Buy Food in Season

If you visit the grocery store, you can buy many fruits and vegetables year-round, but you may notice the price and quality of some foods varies throughout the year. Even though modern supply chains mean you can buy most food items any time of year, fruits and veggies are seasonal products.

With a vacuum sealer, you can buy food while it’s in season — or pick it from your own garden — when it’s at its cheapest and freshest. When you seal it, you preserve its freshness and quality.

Before vacuum-sealing vegetables, blanch them by boiling them for a few minutes, then dropping them into an ice bath. Dry them thoroughly, and place them in a vacuum-seal bag. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, blanching helps preserve the veggies’ flavor, color, and texture.

According to Food Vac Bags, sealed and frozen vegetables stay fresh for two or three years in the freezer compared to the normal eight to 12 months the National Center for Food Preservation says vegetables can stay frozen without vacuum sealing.

To vacuum-seal fresh fruit, start by cutting (if necessary) and freezing the fruit on a flat baking sheet. That prevents it from getting squashed during the sealing process. Place the frozen fruit into bags (preferably in single-use serving sizes) and seal. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, sealed frozen fruit can stay good for up to 12 months. And according to VacMaster, sealed fruit stays fresh for up to two weeks in the fridge.

7. Store Herbs & Spices

Dried herbs and spices have a long shelf life, but they tend to lose their flavor relatively quickly. If you compare the smell and taste of a new spice jar with one that’s a year or two old, you’ll notice the difference.

People use some spices frequently throughout the year, but others are more seasonal. For example, cloves are a popular component in wintery dishes but may not appear as often during other seasons.

Vacuum-sealing spices can help preserve their freshness longer. If you notice you haven’t used certain spices for a while, place them in a small paper bag with the top folded or a plastic zip-close bag with a couple of small holes in it, then place that bag in a larger vacuum-seal bag. Pre-bagging prevents the spice from getting sucked into the vacuum, which could damage the machine. You can unseal them when you need them and don’t have to worry about them losing flavor over time.

You can also use a vacuum sealer to preserve fresh herbs as an alternative to store-bought dried ones. First, blanch the herbs by dropping them into a pot of boiling water for a few seconds, then immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water. That helps them stay fresh for even longer in a vacuum-sealed packet. Just make sure you let the herbs dry completely before sealing them.

Note that herbs might not look nice after vacuum sealing, so they won’t be good garnishes. Vacuum-sealing just preserves their flavor. According to FoodSaver, frozen, vacuum-sealed herbs can stay fresh for months.

8. Save Space in Your Kitchen

Vacuum-sealing eliminates a lot of bulk. That can save you space in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, meaning you can worry less about space.

For example, vacuum-sealed meats, like ground beef, can have a much slimmer profile than meat packaged in the Styrofoam trays from the grocery store. Repackaging them in your own vacuum-seal bags also lets you control the quantity and shape of each chub.

If you like soup and chili, you can vacuum-seal loads of it without taking up too much room. To save space, spoon it into a zip-close bag, seal it carefully, and place it on a flat surface, like a baking sheet, to freeze. You can then remove the frozen meal from the zip-close bag and seal it in a custom bag. That gives you a flat package that’s easy to store in the freezer, either by stacking multiple bags or storing them straight up and down, like a file folder. The flat freezing method also makes it defrost quickly.

Sealing things like beans or grains lets you customize the way you store your dry goods. Some of these products come in awkward packages that are floppy and cumbersome in tight storage spaces. Vacuum-sealing pulls out all the air, creating a sturdy package that doesn’t shift as you search for other goods. Use reusable bags with a handheld sealer so you can grab what you need and reseal. Or you can use a vacuum-seal canister for even greater stability.

You can also seal bags of frozen vegetables or fruits in a single layer to reduce the amount of space they take up in your freezer. That makes it easier to keep them out of the way until you need them. You can also try sealing vegetables in smaller servings so you can use them in a meal without having to reseal what you don’t need.

9. Marinate Faster

Marinating meat or vegetables before cooking adds flavor. But marinating takes precious time. Many recipes call for placing food in the marinade hours before you cook — or even the night before — hardly ideal for on-the-go parents or professionals.

Vacuum-sealing the food in plastic bags can help you marinate it much faster. Make your marinade and pour it over the food into a custom bag made from a bag roll, then vacuum-seal it. With this method, marination takes only half an hour, though you can leave it longer if you want more flavor or tenderness.

When marinating, avoid letting liquid get into your vacuum sealer. A popular strategy is the paper towel method. Just put a paper towel between the food and the top of the bag. The towel catches liquid before it gets sucked into the vacuum sealer. As an alternative to paper products, you can use cheesecloth or something similar.

10. Sous Vide Cooking

Sous vide cooking relies on cooking food sealed in glass jars or plastic bags in a water bath at a precisely regulated temperature. You can use a sous vide cooker without a vacuum sealer, but vacuum-sealing yields the best results.

Using a sous vide cooker makes it easy to cook meat to the exact doneness you desire. Since you can set the temperature of the water bath precisely, the food never heats above a set temperature. That means getting the perfect level of doneness every time you cook with no risk of going over. If you like, you can even give it a quick sear on high heat after it’s done.

That’s fantastic news for those pricey steaks you splurged on. But it can also save you money by letting you buy cheaper cuts of meat. According to Serious Eats, sous vide’s low and slow cooking with consistent temperatures tenderizes the meat.

Sous vide machines are perfect for summer cooking since they don’t heat your home the way ovens do. Plus, you can keep the sous vide running while you’re not home.

You can use it to cook almost anything that benefits from cooking at precise temperatures, such as eggs or meat.

And with sous vide, you can cook your sides along with your mains. For example, toss some sliced potatoes, smashed garlic, milk, and butter for mashed potatoes into one vacuum-seal pack and some broccoli, olive oil, salt, and pepper into another and cook those along with a salmon steak or pork roast.

You can even sous vide foods straight from the freezer.

11. Waterproof Your Valuables & Emergency Supplies

If you’re planning a trip to the beach, expecting a large storm, or simply want to keep your valuables safe, you can use your vacuum sealer to waterproof them.

For example, you can seal things like important documents, your kids’ priceless artwork, and comic books or magazines. But be careful, as the vacuum could transfer the ink to other surfaces, make pages stick together, and crimp the edges. Instead, place them between cardboard sheets to prevent damage, then slide them into a custom-size bag from a roll and use the seal-only function. To ensure they’re also protected from fire, place them inside a fire-resistant envelope before sealing.

Vacuum-sealing is also a safe and efficient way to store emergency supplies like matches, candles, batteries, and flashlights. If a storm knocks out your power or damages your home, you’ll have dry equipment you can use while you wait for help. You can also seal away some cash so you have emergency funds to use during a disaster, when credit card networks may be down.

12. Camping & Hiking

Packing for a hike or family camping trip can be challenging, especially if you plan to stay overnight. You can only fit so much in your backpack without it becoming overly bulky, and you want to minimize weight as much as possible.

The vacuum-pack method works best for consumables or things you can otherwise leave on the trail or at the campsite unless you want to use reusable bags and pack a handheld sealer in your backpack.

A vacuum sealer draws the air from your provisions’ packaging, making it easier to carry more supplies. As a bonus, it weatherproofs the things in your bag so you can keep essentials like food and clothing dry, even if you’re hiking or camping in the rain. And it’s cheaper than buying larger bags or more expensive waterproofing equipment.

13. Save Storage Space in Every Room

The kitchen isn’t the only place storage space is at a premium. Vacuum sealers can help you pack away things you don’t use frequently and reduce the amount of space they take up.

If you want to vacuum-seal bulky items, like comforters and winter coats, you must buy special bags that work with your vacuum cleaner. But you can use your regular countertop kitchen vacuum sealer for smaller items.

For example, you can use a vacuum sealer to store seasonal items, like heavy winter socks, mittens and gloves, and scarves, until it gets cold again. You can just put the bags at the bottom of your sock drawer, where they take up a fraction of the space.

You can also use a sealer to seal things for backup or long-term storage, such as old baby clothing you plan to reuse for your next child or extra tea towels, handkerchiefs, or bulk-purchased cotton balls to protect them from water damage and pests, even if you store them in the garage.


Types of Vacuum Sealers

Before you buy a vacuum sealer, it’s crucial you understand the pros and cons of the different types of sealers and the kinds of containers they work with.

  • Countertop. Traditional countertop vacuum sealers are the most versatile. But they need space on your countertop, at least temporarily, which is a negative if countertop or storage space is already at a premium. Countertop sealers are designed to work with bag rolls, which allow you to create custom-size bags. But most also work with generic sealable containers and reusable bags via a hose you can attach to the unit. Countertop vacuum sealers tend to have the most efficient seal of the three when used with the bag rolls. But if you need to access something frequently, such as cheese or snacks, you have to create and seal a new bag each time. And they’re clunky to use with containers and bags if you don’t plan to keep it on your counter. Countertop sealers usually cost between $25 and $50 for a cheaper model, such as the NutriChef, up to $200 or more for a high-end model like the FoodSaver V4840.
  • Handheld. Smaller handheld vacuum sealers don’t take up much space. However, they only work with specially designed boxes or bags that are more expensive than generic vacuum-seal bag rolls. Handheld sealers often run between $20 for a budget unit and $30 for a more powerful sealer like the MXBold. That said, they’re not as powerful as countertop models, and some air will eventually get into the package after you seal it due to points of entry and escape in the sealing hole and zipper. That makes them best for short-term sealing or foods you reach for frequently.
  • Specialized Vacuum Sealers. There are a lot of specialized sealers that are designed to fit different needs. One example of this is the Vacuvita, which starts at $300. It sits on your countertop full time and is intended for frequent sealing and unsealing. It’s also more suitable for things like bread and chips, which a traditional sealer would crush. But it doesn’t lend itself to long-term storage. Then there are chamber vacuum sealers, like the VacMaster chamber sealer. They’re expensive but highly efficient and quieter than many other sealers. They’re great for people who want to customize how they seal food or who have lots of things to seal at once. It can also vacuum-seal liquid like marinades and soups for long-term storage. Chamber sealers are often commercial equipment, but there are comparatively less expensive prosumer (professional-consumer) models for home use.

The solution you seek may rely on having more than one kind of sealer. But you’ll most certainly need more than one type of storage solution. And there are several types to choose from.

  • Bag Rolls. Traditional countertop vacuum sealers work with special bag rolls, which are customizable. They’re essentially long tubes of plastic. You use the vacuum sealer’s seal function to melt the plastic together on one open end of the bag, cut the bag to the size you want, and fill it. Then you use the vacuum-and-seal function to pull out the air and seal the remaining open end. They’re also relatively inexpensive. However, you can’t reuse them, which means you need to restock regularly. These are optimum for long-term storage because they have the best seal and lose less vacuum over time than any other storage method.
  • Reusable Bags. Reusable bags are a fixed size and more expensive than bag rolls. But you can use them more than once, which can save you money in the long run. They’re suitable for foods you plan to use often because you can reseal them rather than discard them and start over like you have to do with bags from rolls. But they aren’t as impervious as the custom bags. The sealing hole and zipper are potential points of air introduction, and they can lose vacuum over time, meaning they’re not ideal for long-term storage. They can be a pain to clean and fully dry, and it’s best to avoid using them for things like raw meat or foods that can stain, such as tomato sauce.
  • Specialized Mason Jar Lids. You can buy special vacuum-seal Mason jar lids to seal jarred foods. For long-term storage, these are best for staples like cereal and dry goods. Vacuum-sealing with them isn’t meant to take the place of proper canning techniques. But they’re fine for short-term storage of things like soup and chili.
  • Plastic Storage Containers. For leftovers and meal prep, you can’t beat vacuum-seal storage containers. They’re expensive but reusable. But over time, these containers’ seals may weaken, especially if the initial seal isn’t good or there’s too much moisture in the container.

Just ensure whatever container you buy works with your sealer model.


Final Word

Vacuum sealers are useful kitchen gadgets that can help you save space and money. However, they’re not one-size-fits-all. You may even need a couple of different types of vacuum sealers to meet your needs.

For example, a countertop model that works with bag rolls can help you vacuum-seal foods for long-term storage. But you’ll probably prefer to keep a handheld model for everyday use, like storing leftovers in the fridge or sealing cheese or deli meat for lunches.

With vacuum sealers, the possibilities are endless. You can vacuum-seal almost anything, so you might find new and interesting ways to save space and safely store things throughout your home.

Source: moneycrashers.com

5 Ways to Prepare Your Apartment for Summer

If you’re like us, you’re enjoying planting flowers and putting away your heavy sweaters as winter gives way to spring. The warmer weather is always welcome – until it gets too hot, that is. Summer’s not far off, and with it will come soaring temperatures that can leave you uncomfortable in your apartment.

You can’t stop the weather, but you can prepare your home ahead of time so those sweltering days don’t bother you too much. Here’s how to ensure you’ll be cool as a cucumber when the heat hits.

1. Have your air conditioner inspected

5 Ways to Prepare Your Apartment for Hot Weather5 Ways to Prepare Your Apartment for Hot WeatherYou don’t want to wait until you really need it to find out your AC is broken. Test your air conditioner sometime this spring. Does it not blow out cool air? Does it make weird noises or seem to work too hard? If there’s any problem at all, call your apartment maintenance crew out to fix it.

2. Improve insulation around windows and doors

Most people think of beefing up their insulation when they’re preparing for winter, but the same principles apply during the summer: You want your comfortable, cool air inside and the hot air outside. Block drafts by caulking gaps and installing new weather stripping (you may want to call the maintenance crew to do this for you). Hang curtains and blinds to keep direct sunlight from entering your apartment.

For a fun, easy DIY project that’ll keep you comfortable and save you money, check out our tutorial on making your own draft stoppers.

3. Clean the vents on your dryer

You already know that you should clean out your lint trap after each load of laundry. But you also need to clean the vent that directs excess hot air outside your home about once a year. If you don’t, you’re creating a fire hazard (talk about hot!) and some hot air that should be directed outside may instead blow back inside.

Cleaning your vent is an easy process. Here’s how to do it:

  • Unplug the dryer and pull it away from the wall.
  • Loosen the clamp that attaches the vent to the dryer and pull the vent away.
  • Use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to suck up the excess lint and debris that’s collected in the vent.
  • Reconnect everything.

Another option to save money and keep you cooler is to use a drying rack to let your clothes air-dry instead of using the appliance.

4. Change the direction of your ceiling fans

To cool down a room, the ceiling fan should rotate counter-clockwise. This pushes the air downward, creating a wind chill effect that can make you feel as much as 4 degrees cooler than the room actually is. Creating this breeze is an energy-efficient and easy way to keep your home feeling much cooler. (In winter, you’ll want it to rotate clockwise so the warm air that gathers at the top of the room gets circulated.)

If you don’t have a ceiling fan where you want one, ask your maintenance crew to install one for you. You may have to buy the fan yourself, but they should be able to mount it on the ceiling for you.

5. Have plenty of ice on hand

Whether your fridge has an automatic ice maker or you have to do it the old-fashioned way with cube trays, you’ll want plenty of ice on hand when summer hits. Drinking an ice-cold beverage does a lot to cool down your body temperature, so make sure your freezer and ice maker are in good working order.

How do you keep cool in your apartment during the summer?

Image credit: Shutterstock / Jen duMoulin, You Touch Pix of EuToch

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Sell In May & Go Away – Should You Follow This Investing Strategy?

There are many adages that have been followed in the stock market for decades. Some are based in truth, some are built of overwhelming investor opinion as a result of a statistical anomaly, and some have no factual basis at all. Nonetheless, they often drive the investment decisions made by the masses.

One of these old adages, “sell in May and go away,” suggests that investors should sell their stocks in May and seek alternative investment vehicles, coming back late in the year to take advantage of holiday-fueled gains. Although this adage is widely quoted, it leads to a bit of a conundrum for beginner investors.

If the power of investing comes from buy-and-hold investments that generate compound gains, why would you want to divest your portfolio for six months of the year? Would you really produce stronger average returns if you were to sell your stock holdings in May and wait until November to reinvest?

The fact of the matter is that the sell-in-May-and-go-away strategy is fundamentally flawed, but is there any kernel of truth to this popular adage?

The Idea Behind the Sell-in-May-and-Go-Away Theory

The idea behind the theory that investors should sell in May and go away is simple. Essentially, the adage suggests that declines generally take place in the May-to-October period. Therefore, by selling at the beginning of May, you can avoid declines experienced in the fall or summer months.

Those who follow the sell-in-May-and-go-away trading strategy believe that, due to low participation rates in the summer months, investments during these months are risky, ultimately resulting in decreasing average gains.

So, why are there believed to be fewer market participants in the months from May through October? There are a few reasons:

  • It’s a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. No matter whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or expert investor, there’s a strong chance that you’ve come across this adage at some point. The sheer popularity of the idea makes it somewhat true by scaring some would-be market participants out of participation after May.
  • Many People Take Vacations at This Time. The summer months are also when professionals are most likely to take their vacations. Experts who spend their days on Wall Street look forward to those few months a year when it’s somewhat acceptable to step away from the office for a couple of weeks. Because summer vacations are all the rage, many believe that vacationing equates to fewer investors participating in public markets.
  • People Begin Saving for the Holidays. Finally, once the welcoming feel of the new year wears off, many in the middle class begin to look toward the future and plan for the holiday season that’s ahead. This planning generally includes increased saving and reduced consumer spending in the run-up to the holiday shopping season. As a result, it is believed that company revenues will underperform in May through October when compared to revenues in November through April. As a result, many expect a bear market in the summer months and a bull market in the winter months.

At the same time, there are some general beliefs that suggest that the winter and spring seasons are met with increased investor participation:

  • Holiday Spending. The winter months are home to many holidays, some of which are the largest gift-giving and traveling holidays of the year. This is where you find Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and Easter. As a result, spending during the “holiday season” is generally higher, leading to increasing revenues for companies and higher valuations for the stocks that represent them.
  • New Year’s Resolutions. New Year’s Day is an important holiday for Americans. It marks the beginning of resolutions, often to improve both physical and financial health. As a result, tons of consumers who have not invested in the past begin to take an interest in the market, looking to build a stronger financial foundation on which to build their futures and leading to increased investor participation overall during the first quarter of the year.
  • Speculation. As the new year comes into play, investors start to speculate with regard to the innovative new products and services that will be released in the year ahead. This speculation is believed to lead to more growth in market participants.

Pro tip: Earn a $30 bonus when you open and fund a new trading account from M1 Finance. With M1 Finance, you can customize your portfolio with stocks and ETFs, plus you can invest in fractional shares.


Is There Any Truth To the Sell-in-May-and-Go-Away Theory?

Many in the investing community suggest that selling in May and not coming back for several months is a good idea, but does the historical data back up the theory? Are there really trends based on seasonality that will lead to predictable declines from May through November?

Well, yes and no. Much like the October Effect, selling in May and vanishing until late November or early December is a strategy that’s based on a kernel of truth, but greatly misses the mark. Here’s a chart breaking down what 92 years of historical data tells us about the flagship benchmark index in the United States, the S&P 500 index:

Month Years Up Years Down Average Monthly Returns
January 57 35 1.2%
February 48 44 -0.1%
March 55 37 0.5%
April 59 33 1.5%
May 53 39 -0.1%
June 52 40 0.8%
July 54 38 1.6%
August 53 39 0.6%
September 42 49 -1.0%
October 54 38 0.4%
November 56 36 0.8%
December 57 25 1.3%

The 6 Months From May Through November

As you can see from the chart above, one trend is immediately clear. If you sell in May and don’t come back, 92 years of historical data says that you’ll miss out on the month known for producing the largest market returns: July. That’s right, July has produced a whopping average return of 1.6% for the month.

Going a bit deeper into the market data, out of the six months from May through November, only one month had more years with negative returns than positive returns. Therefore, investing during these months would theoretically produce more gains than it would losses, if history continues to repeat itself.

Digging into the actual returns also shows that investments during these taboo months will likely result in positive returns. In fact, when you average the average monthly returns column across this six-month period, you’ll find that the average gains throughout this period work out to about 0.52% per month.

The 6 Months From December Through April

A brief look at the chart above suggests that there may be some truth to this adage after all. Three of the top four months by average S&P 500 index gains over the past 92 years take place within this six-month period. Moreover, there’s only one month in the period that the average returns over the past 92 years have been negative.

Moreover, every single month in this six-month period has a history consisting of more years in the green than years in the red.

Averaging the average monthly returns in the six-month period from December through April gives you a total average return per month of 0.73%. Comparing that to the 0.52% realized in the months from May through November shows that there may indeed be some truth to the adage.

Ultimately, investments in the United States equities market are more likely to produce slightly strong gains in the winter and spring months than in the summer and fall months, on average, suggesting that the seasonal pattern results in stronger gains from December through April than May through November.

Does This Mean You Should Divest All Your Equity Holdings in May?

So, should you indeed “sell in May and go away?” Absolutely not! Although it may be a good idea to rebalance your portfolio quarterly, the decision to sell any or all of your equity holdings shouldn’t be based simply on seasonality. Investment decisions should be based on detailed research, inclusive of the most up-to-date data no matter what season of the year it is.

Sure, there is some historical truth that some months of the year tend to see better performance than others, but that’s based on broad averages and measured in terms of the market as a whole. No matter what time of the year, or even the current condition of the market, there will always be gems that can prove to be excellent investment opportunities.

Instead of selling your assets based on seasonal volatility in the stock market, or what the S&P 500 index or Dow Jones Industrial Average may be doing at any given moment, it’s best to follow an investment strategy that includes rebalancing your portfolio on a quarterly basis. We’ll review this process shortly.

Pro tip: Before you add any stocks to your portfolio, make sure you’re choosing the best possible companies. Stock screeners like Trade Ideas can help you narrow down the choices to companies that meet your individual requirements. Learn more about our favorite stock screeners.


Dangers Associated With the Sell-in-May-and-Go-Away Theory

Broad statements like “sell in May and go away” have the potential to come with portfolio-devastating consequences, especially when taken literally. The reason boils down to the real power of investing: compound gains.

Over time, your earnings start to earn money, which then earns more money. This is how small monthly contributions to a portfolio have the potential to turn into millions of dollars over the course of your lifetime.

If you take your money completely out of the market for six months out of each year, what you’re actually doing is robbing yourself of half of the compound gains you could be enjoying. When the market dips, it tends to be short-term — and is often followed by a significant recovery. Completely robbing yourself of compound gains because you’re fearful of the declines associated with a short-term dip in the market is a costly mistake.


Why the Average Investor Shouldn’t Try to Time the Market

There’s one big factor that lies at the heart of the “sell-in-May-and-go-away adage. The entire idea is based on timing the market. Market-timing is a dangerous prospect in and of itself.

The market ebbs and flows with consumer opinion, and predicting when it will ebb or when it will flow is extremely difficult. The best day traders, stock analysts, and investing gurus get it wrong sometimes, even though they have access to and a detailed understanding of some of the most complex and accurate tools available today.

Without serious experience in detailed technical and fundamental analysis, and a grasp of macroeconomics, attempting to time the market is akin to attempting to get a royal flush in a poker game. Sure, you’ll make a killing if things go well, but if things go wrong you’re going to lose — it’s a gamble.


The Alternative: Quarterly Rebalancing

A more sound alternative to selling in May and going away is to engage in regular portfolio rebalancing on an ongoing basis. Many choose to do this quarterly, making incremental changes four times per year rather than making dramatic moves in May and then again at the end of the year. The process of rebalancing includes the following:

  • Calculate Returns. Start by combing through your portfolio and determining what your annualized rate of return has been on each of your holdings. While calculating the annualized rate of return may seem to be a daunting task, Key Bank solves that problem with their free Annual Rate of Return Calculator. This information also may be available through your brokerage.
  • Compare Returns. Once you know the annualized returns on your investments, compare them to benchmarks to see how your investments are performing. It’s best to compare your investments to the most similar benchmarks. For example, if you’re looking at a tech stock within your portfolio, you may want to look at a few similar stocks in the sector as well as the Nasdaq Composite Index. If you’re looking into the performance of an exchange-traded fund (ETF) or a mutual fund, dive into the performance of the underlying asset to ensure that its returns are similar or outpacing the benchmark.
  • Adjust as Needed To Meet Your Goals. After digging into your returns and comparing those to the returns seen by comparable benchmarks, you’ll be able to quickly determine which investments in your portfolio are underperforming. Simply sell these assets and consider either investing the funds into high performance stocks in your portfolio or using the funds to take part in new opportunities.

Final Word

Although there is some truth to the idea that, historically, stocks do perform better during some parts of the year than others, market-timing is extremely difficult and often stumps even the most successful experts in the investing space.

Instead of worrying about which seasons stocks are slated to do best, it’s best to pay close attention to your investments all year round. Most importantly, make sure to take the time to occasionally rebalance your portfolio and stick to a solid investing strategy. You don’t have to always be trading, but making quarterly adjustments to your investment portfolio will likely serve you well.

Source: moneycrashers.com

Save Money When You Buy Frozen Produce Over Fresh

“A broccoli floret is a broccoli floret whether that be store brand or Birds Eye,” Wesley said. “It is a single-ingredient food. It is a broccoli floret. Period. End of story.”
The fruit and vegetables that end up in the frozen foods aisle of your local supermarkets are often picked and frozen at the peak of freshness. Essentially, they end up being more “fresh” than some of the produce that has to travel from farms to the stores to your kitchen counter.
Get the Penny Hoarder Daily She said that people who keep their favorite produce stocked in the freezer tend to eat more fruits and vegetables. For the healthiest outcome, make sure you’re buying frozen produce that doesn’t include added sauces or seasoning, which will increase your saturated fat and sodium intake.
In addition, frozen produce often is a better choice because it reduces food waste. Frozen berries and green beans, for example, can last up to a year in the freezer. If you accidentally leave their fresh counterparts in the fridge for longer than a week, you’ll end up with moldy berries and limp green beans that you’ll have to throw away.
“I’ve had a lot of my patients tell me that they do not consume fruits and vegetables because they cannot afford organic,” said Wendy Wesley, a St. Petersburg, Florida-based registered dietician and nutritionist.
The winning quality of frozen fruits and vegetables is that they’re ready when you are, Wesley said. With fresh produce, on the other hand, the clock is ticking to eat it before it goes bad. Privacy Policy
Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. The high price of fresh, organic produce can be a deterrent for shoppers who want to be healthy but need to stick to a budget.
Source: thepennyhoarder.com
From a nutritional standpoint, there is no downside with frozen produce, Wesley said.
“For a long time, I would only buy fresh produce,” Wesley said. “I wasted a lot of fresh produce, because life got in the way and I didn’t get to it in time. And that’s when I became an advocate for frozen vegetables.” <!–

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Choosing frozen produce over fresh also means there’s more of a chance for you to find manufacturer or store coupons to help cut down the price. Keep in mind, however, there’s often little to no difference in the generic version of frozen produce versus its name-brand counterpart — and you can usually save money by buying the cheaper store brand.

The Best Places to Live in Nevada in 2021

Nevada is typically thought of as a hot, dry desert with Las Vegas being the main reason people visit or choose to live there. But the state offers so much more!

The best places to live in Nevada include many family-friendly cities, some of which are close to beautiful lakes and stunning mountains. There are places for boating, hiking and even winter sports, like skiing and snowboarding.

On the financial side of things, it’s one of the few states that doesn’t have personal income tax! So take a look and explore the best places to live in Nevada.

Boulder City, NV, one of the best places to live in nevada

Boulder City is small, family-friendly and pretty safe—which is very different from the larger, more famous city of Las Vegas that lies only 30 minutes away.

It has small-town vibes and a very tight-knit community, making it an attractive place for young families wanting the fun and excitement of Las Vegas without living in such a vast, bustling city.

Plus, you’ve got Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam nearby for outdoor recreation.

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Carson City, NV.

Nevada’s state capital, Carson City, is fairly unique to most other cities in Nevada, with it being close to anything you might enjoy, be it outdoor recreation or big city lights.

Because it lies much further north than Las Vegas, its weather isn’t always hot and dry. You can enjoy all four unique seasons, including some snow in winter.

You’re also less than an hour away from the beautiful shores and mountains of Lake Tahoe, where summer swimming and boating are popular and winter skiing is available.

Plus, there’s Reno nearby in case you want to explore a Vegas-like city that’s not quite so large.

Carson City itself still has great restaurants in its downtown area and is family-friendly. Even with all of this great stuff, it’s still one of the least-crowded cities in America.

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Fallon, NV, one of the best places to live in nevada

Because it’s fairly quiet and mellow, Fallon draws in both young families and retirees who are looking to live life at a slower pace. This has given the town the nickname of the “Oasis of Nevada.” There are also many military families due to the naval base nearby.

It’s a great place for those that are adventurous and enjoy exploring since it’s within two hours of Lake Tahoe, the Nevada state capital of Carson City and Reno’s bright lights.

Plus, there are plenty of community events and festivals throughout the year for locals (and visitors) to attend.

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Henderson, NV.

As part of the greater Las Vegas city, Henderson is big city living, but in the suburbs. It’s less than a 30-minute drive to get to the strip, with many of Las Vegas’ great restaurants and shopping spots located even closer.

Henderson is very focused on building a safe community and bringing people together, so there are lots of great events and activities going on. One of the most popular is a downtown art festival, where many local artists and art-lovers gather each month to support each other.

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Las Vegas, NV, one of the best places to live in nevada

One of the most well-known cities in the world, Las Vegas draws in a diverse crowd of tourists and residents alike.

There’s never a dull moment and something for everyone is easily found at every corner. Restaurants, shows, shopping and even major league sports are all part of Vegas.

Because it’s a large city, it’s divided up into neighborhoods, some of which give residents a “big city” feel and others that are a little bit quieter and calm.

Plus, the location is ideal —in just a few hours, you can find yourself at the beaches near Los Angeles or the mountains of Utah.

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Laughlin, NV.

You’ll find Laughlin nestled right on the Nevada-Arizona border, near the banks of the Colorado River.

It offers adventurous desert living, where off-roading is a favorite pastime and it’s warm and sunny, making it perfect for anyone that enjoys swimming frequently in the Colorado River.

You’ll always meet new people in Laughlin as its economy thrives on tourism — it’s full of casinos and resorts that bring in new crowds every day of the year.

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North Vegas, NV, one of the best places to live in nevada

North Las Vegas is the happy medium for anyone wanting to feel like they live in the hustle and bustle of Vegas, but without feeling like they’re in the overcrowded streets of downtown and the Strip.

It’s been experiencing a revitalization and the city has been recently focusing on improving safety, entertainment and diversity in the area.

You’ve still got the Strip and main city nearby, plus endless restaurants and shopping, but at the end of the day, you don’t have to deal with constant traffic and tourists walking everywhere. It’s not too close, yet not too far away!

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Reno, NV.

The “biggest little city in the world” is one that’s full of surprises. Reno is typically known for gambling and casinos, but it actually has many great ski resorts for winter sports. But it’s not just winter that makes it exciting—it’s less than an hour to Lake Tahoe, so expect exciting and fun summers.

Reno has one of the best bar scenes, most of which are open 24-hours. And because it has so much room to grow, many large businesses are building offices in the area, further stabilizing the already-stable economy.

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Sparks, NV, one of the best places to live in nevada

If you’re a fan of Reno, then you’ll probably also like Sparks, which is a small town that’s basically a suburb of Reno. It’s close to all of the excitement that the bigger city offers with a relaxed vibe.

And with the growth of Reno’s business sector, Sparks is seeing a lot more development to accommodate the increasing number of jobs and residents in the area.

There’s a pretty diverse age group, with everyone from college students, young professionals, families and retirees mingling throughout the city.

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Sun Valley, NV.

As yet another town near Reno, Sun Valley is also seeing much growth but is still more rural than the main city center and Sparks. Many of its residents actually like that there are very few stores and restaurants in the area, as it keeps it quiet and not many random tourists end up wandering through.

Because of its lack of city recreation, there are many community events that provide opportunities to get to know your neighbors and interact with the other locals. It’s full of humble, eccentric people that are always welcoming to newcomers and outsiders.

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Find your own best place to live in Nevada

Las Vegas isn’t the only place to live in Nevada, especially if you’re looking for a little less of the “big city.”

There are plenty of other cities and suburbs that give you everything you could imagine. From community events to all-year outdoor recreation — you only need to open your mind up to the possibilities of Nevada.

Source: rent.com