This is my favorite time of year! December is a busy month full of time spent with family and friends. People go out of their way to spread a little extra holiday cheer. And homes are decorated beautifully. There are so many beautiful trees and lights.
And while some people are sad to see Christmas end, I'm always excited about the thought of the new year. 2012 is just around the corner. It's a time for fresh beginnings and new starts! It's a time to turn your dreams into realities.
This week, my husband and I will sit down and create our budget for 2012. We'll assess 2011, figure out what worked, what didn't work, and what we can do better. One of the items that is now a must in our budget is our home decor/home improvement budget.
This is one of the areas that people often overlook in their budget, especially when they have limited funds. Amazingly enough, it's one of those areas where a little money can go a long way. By setting aside a little money each month, you can transform your home into a place you love to be.
Here are some great ways to make your home look a little fresher without spending a ton of money.
Professional contractors and DIYers agree that Home Depot is the place to shop for all your home improvement project supplies. With great prices and selections, Home Depot is the largest retail home improvement store in the world. When planning your next shopping trip to Home Depot, you might want to consider these tips.
We are now a week into "Check-uary" (that transitional time when you can't remember what year it is), and it's time to make a new start. By the time everyone remembers to write the date 2011 on everything it's going to feel too late to start fresh. Better get started this week at least with a list of the things you'd like to get done around the house in the new year.
I need to do it, too, so feel free to steal my list and write your name on the top of it.
Okay, so the last couple of giveaway prizes have been a bit "female-centric." But for day eleven of our Twelve Days of Giveaways we're tipping the scales over to the testosterone side of the equation with a $500 gift card courtesy of that mecca of maleness: Home Depot.
So if you'll remember, a few months ago I went around the house and measured the water usage of various faucets in my house. In doing so, I was able to come up with a plan to use less. Now if only there was some way to do the same with my electrical devices. Well, today I installed a device that does just that.
Thanks to Microsoft Hohm, I got a package a few days ago with a PowerCost Monitor from Blue Line Innovations and a WiFi accessory to network it into my home network. The Hohm network is a home automation system that will allow you to network and monitor every item in your house. I discussed some uses for such a system in my blog post about remote control locks.
Even as far as the housing market tumbled, we still ended up with what the real estate folks call a "fixer upper". We got a nice 50s ranch house in the San Fernando Valley from the original owner who was moving into an assisted living home. She had kept a nice neat place, with glorious rose bushes in the front and back yards--but the paint and wall paper was from the mid 80s and the furnace was from the 50s.
At least the appliances had just been replaced.
The roof was the biggest issue. New cedar shake roofs have been banned in Los Angeles since sometime before 1990. We still had one in 2008--which would have made it at least 28 years old if it had been put in right before the law was passed, which I doubt. A little investigation revealed an earlier roof still lived under the current one, most likely the original 1950s version. Any roofer, insurance agent, home inspector, or Realtor will tell you 30 years is an old roof. It didn't leak, but it had to go.