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How to Estimate Apartment Utility Cost

 

 

How to Estimate Apartment Utility Cost and Ways to Keep it Low

Budgeting is crucial when moving into a new apartment. The cost for your apartment utilities is an expense that can easily be overlooked. It can add up quickly, and it’s essential to consider them before moving into a new apartment. So, it’s necessary to estimate utility costs after you have moved in and plan some ways to keep it low.

Determine the utilities that are included in your lease

It’s essential to determine the utilities included in your rental before you move in. If the rate of your rent is really cheap, chances are, you will be covering the costs of all your utilities. Check your lease agreement and see what utilities you will be paying for, and make sure to factor that into your budgeting. While the monthly rent varies landlord to landlord, it’s common for renters to have their trash and water bill covered by their landlord. You are then responsible for the electric and gas bill.

Electricity Bill

It is usually the electricity bill that is likely the largest portion of your total utility bill, so it’s important to know what you’re paying for. Two major contributing factors will determine the extent of your electricity bill. One is the size of your apartment. A bigger apartment means a larger space to heat or cool if you are using electric appliances. It would be best if you considered the height of your ceiling and floor space as these can affect your electric bill.

Many roommates are the second contributing factor that determines the extent of your electricity bill. This is pretty self-explanatory. If you have multiple roommates, you’ll have more lights on and more appliances being used. Your electricity bill will be significantly higher if you live with roommates.

How to lower your Electricity Bill

You can find ways to cut down on a hefty electric bill. These simple tips could help you if your bill is larger than you thought:

  • Make sure your appliances are in excellent condition.
  • Clean out dirty filters and vents and do proper maintenance as they can help lead to more energy-efficient appliances.

Buy products that are energy efficiency like appliances that are made with digital inverter technology. Use LED light bulbs and turn your electronics and lights off when you’re away. This may not seem like much, but following this habit will eventually add up.

Gas Bill

The gas bill could be really tricky. It’s essential to check out your stove to see what can be affecting your gas bill. And if it’s fine, the reason for your higher gas bill might be due to frequent use. If your oven/stove uses gas, you’ll be charged for the use of natural gas. Luckily, gas appliances are cheaper than their electric counterparts. Even if you’re passionate about cooking and cook every night, the cost of the cooking gas shouldn’t equate the cost of electricity when you use an electric stove.

Heating

The cost of heating is included in your electric or gas bill or lumped into your rent. An average gas-operated heater could consume around $40 per month. Electricity, on the other hand, is more expensive and could come in at about $160 per month. If you are unsure of heating costs, ask the landlord what type of heating is in the apartment and call the utility company and ask for the average monthly bill for that address.

Internet Bill

The internet is another apartment essential that’s easily overlooked. Before deciding on what internet service plan to go with, think about your internet usage. Consider how many devices will be using the internet. If you casually browse the web or social media, you can choose a cheaper plan. Speeds of about 6-10 Mbps should be adequate for your usage.

Cable Bill

The cable is now wholly an optional expense, and many can get by without subscribing to cable. The number of users who cancel their cable services, often in favor of less expensive Internet-based options in the U.S., is expected to reach 33 million this year. But if you can’t live without cable, consider what you are watching. Lower tier packages might suit your needs just fine and can be as cheap as $10.

Before you move, you need to review your lease and read it thoroughly. If you see that your landlord covers the cost of many standard utilities (i.e., trash and water), you are likely paying a higher rent.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Keep Your Apartment Free from Viruses

Many people are aware that a virus of any kind is brutal. But don’t worry, there are many ways to keep any virus at bay. By following these recommendations and guidelines, you’ll help keep the virus from spreading.

Disinfect surfaces

Since the flu virus can live in every corner of the house for 24 hours, try to disinfect the hard surfaces that the sick person has touched, paying particular attention to the sick person’s bedroom and bathroom. Use an antibacterial cleaner on crucial spots such as tabletops, counter-tops, remote controls, computer keyboards, doorknobs, sinks, light switches, faucet handles, sinks, counter-top, tub, and toilet (including the entire seat and the toilet handle).

Another option is to disinfect areas by cleaning it with a solution of 1/2 cup of bleach per gallon of water. Let the solution sit on the surface for about five minutes. Rinse it out, and then air-dry it. Avoid the germs to spread unintentionally. After using the mop on floors of the contaminated room and bathroom, soak the mop head in a solution of 1/2 cup bleach and one gallon of water for 15-20 minutes. Avoid re-using the cleaning materials in other parts of the house. Please put them in the washer instead.

To sanitize kids’ items such as non-electric plastic/metal toys, sippy cups, teething rings, bottle nipples, and dishes, wash the items first, then soak them for two minutes in a solution of 2 teaspoons of bleach per gallon of water. Rinse in warm water then air dry.

Reduce germs in the bedroom

Take note of this regular bedroom-cleaning regimen: place a wastebasket in the sick room to catch all those used tissues – and make sure to line the basket with a plastic grocery bag to minimize contact with germs. Empty the wastebasket every day, and replace bags each time. If the wastebasket becomes so grungy – especially if the sick person vomits in it, disinfect and rinse it thoroughly. Clean the inside and outside with a solution of ½ cup bleach and ¾ gallon of water. Let it sit for two minutes to disinfect, and then rinse it with warm water and air dry.

Dust can be extra irritating when someone is sick, so it’s good to dust the furniture — especially the headboard and the nightstand — and vacuuming the floor. Remember corners and under the bed.

Move stale air out and open the windows every day to let the fresh air in. Although you don’t need to open the windows all day, just a few hours are enough to freshen the room.

Take care when doing laundry

The items from a sick person such as towels, bedding, and clothes are usually full of germs, so don’t “hug” them as you take them to the washer. It will transfer the germs to your body. Instead, put the dirty clothes in a laundry basket, and don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly after loading the washer.

After washing the items from a sick person, take the time to clean your washing machine until it is dry. The wet part in the washer is a breeding spot for germs. Let it run an empty cycle of hot water and pour some bleach to the dispenser, then let it run again to ensure the bleach is gone.

Tips for the bathroom

Never share bath towels or hand towels with a person with flu. It is better to paper towels than a cloth hand towels to keep the germs from spreading. Keep the sick person’s toothbrush away from those of other family members.

Don’t use sponges for cleaning

While there’s a virus in your home, use disposable paper towels or germ-grabbing microfiber cloths for cleaning and not sponges. Just remember to wash microfiber cloths daily.

Quarantine the sick person

The virus of the flu spreads when the ill person coughs, sneezes or even talks, affecting people as far as 6 feet away. Flu germs also spread by touching a surface that has flu viruses on it. That’s why it is good to keep the patient confined to a bedroom and make sure that the patient only uses one bathroom. It reduces exposure to the rest of the family and limits the areas you have to disinfect.

A word to the wise

During flu season, clean hands are just as important as a clean house. To get rid of the virus, wash hands all over with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Every member of the family should wash hands after using the bathroom, being outside or being in contact with the sick person, before eating, and before touching the eyes, nose, or mouth.

If a member of the family gets the flu, it is recommended to take an antiviral medication like Tamiflu, which can be useful even if taken beyond the recommended second day of sickness.

2020’s Gardening Trends for Apartments

 

 

Interest in gardening is becoming more popular these days, and it is not only shaping up at over-50 crowd but also to younger gardeners. The National Gardening Association’s 2019 National Gardening Survey says that the millennial generation (ages 18 to 34) continues to grow at a higher rate than older age groups – now equalling Baby Boomers and beyond. The millennials have been responsible for the record on spending on gardening despite lower household incomes than other age groups, and most of them live in an apartment. For those who love gardening, try to look at these 2020’s gardening trends for apartments.

Plant parenting

It is a new gardening term that refers to plant care – especially millennials that are becoming more interested in houseplants. There are at least two new books with titles “plant parenting,” and the term is popping up in social media. You can see gardening influencers on Instagram. There’s a specific account in social media that wrote a houseplant book and have gathered 127,000 followers. The houseplant trend is engaging in millennials, especially those living in apartments.

The theory is because millennials are often living in apartments, so they see houseplants as a convenient, space-saving way to grow plants as well as a way to connect to nature. Houseplant sales at some garden centers have been trending upward for years and increased another 14 percent last year. It is not expected that this upward trend will end anytime soon. The gardening boom is already seen as one of the No. 1 trends in 2020. With this gardening trend, people, including millennials, are becoming increasingly interested in ways to decorate their apartment with houseplants.

Succulent plants

The succulent, categorized as a hot plant, is easy to grow, and they continue to gain popularity. These fleshy-leafed plants include cactus, hens and chicks, sedum, echeveria, and aloe. These plants are running in tandem with the houseplant phenomenon and have already become a global trend where both tender and hardy succulents are being used in gardens. Cactus and succulent sales shot up 25 percent last year and show no sign of slacking.

Fueling the interest in growing succulent is the wide variety of colors, shapes, and forms of succulents as well as their ease of growth (low water needs, compact space, few troubles with bugs, insects, and animals). Many of the gardeners now, including millennials, are trying to get away from often spraying their plants.

Kinder, gentler gardening

The millennial generation, and the industry as a whole, has the desire to be more ecologically responsible that will translate into less chemical use. It also means that gardeners are increasingly looking for severe, naturally bug-and disease-resistant plants so they can grow healthy even with less spraying. Most of the gardeners today are keenly interested in eco-friendly ways to grow house plants as well as bigger-picture sustainable practices, which led to the new Regenerative Organic Certification launched last June.

That certification adds factors such as soil health, fair trade, and animal welfare to the non-chemical requirements of being certified organic. It is found out that half of U.S. consumers say they would buy a brand if they knew production of it was done with concern for the environment.

Pollinators and native plants

It is another gardening trend that’s been active in the last few years, and one that trend-watchers say is showing no signs of diminishing. With eco-friendly concerns, gardeners are planting with an eye on attracting pollinators and helping native wildlife on adding ornamental considerations to indoor plants. The milkweeds are a native plant family that’s especially trendy.

Garden nooks

People are now becoming more interested in creating secluded spots for relaxing and enjoying a great time in their yard’s gardens. Nurturing a garden can be rewarding as you spend leisure time in the space you’ve created. A garden nook within the space is the perfect place to pause, relax, and unwind.

Nooks are typically built in the shade and have comfortable seating as well as things such as water sources or wind chimes. The concept of garden nooks is not new, but the idea is to experience some great idea as we all continue our quest for that ever-elusive work-life balance.

Herbalism

Another great idea for gardeners to think about is to turn attention to a more in-depth look at herbalism. It’s always a good idea for gardeners if they grow herbs for tea (lavender, chamomile, basil, and yes, even chemical-free roses to harvest the petals as well as DIY herbal syrups and elixirs.

Whether you have been gardening all your life or you want to start gardening from scratch, you should look at these 2020’s gardening trends for apartments.

Start The Year Right

 

Start the Year Right: How to Fill Your Home with Positivity

Many of us consider our home a place to retreat from the world and enjoy a relaxing stay. Also recognized as a sanctuary, our house is where we should feel grounded and centered for us to create, inspire, and grow. Whatever the reason, you can always fill your home with positivity. Here are some ways how to do it:

  1. Clear Clutter

Clearing clutter can create space in your home and can bring a flow of positive, inspiring, and creative energy. As clutter promotes stagnant energy and attracts negative entities, it can also make you feel less motivated and even depressed. Start by getting rid of all the things you no longer need or use. These things include cupboards, closets, or basements that are crammed with things that have already been forgotten. As a rule of the thumb, if you haven’t used the thing in a year or it doesn’t bring you joy anymore, it’s now time to let it go.

  1. Lighting and Air

Areas that are dim and with stuffy air can also attract negative entities and can also impact your mood. Dark areas in your home can slow down the vibration of energy, causing you to become sluggish or feel unmotivated. During the day, open up the curtains and the windows and put some light in darker areas of the home with lamps that emit natural-looking light. Use Himalayan Salt lamps as they are active in clearing away negative energy, stress, and air pollutants. If the air quality in the place you live is an issue, consider investing in an air purifier or indoor plants.

#3. White Sage

White Sage has been used to drive away negative energies for many years. They can keep your home safe and protected from unwelcome visitors. White Sage also has healing properties and can help to calm nervous tension and can clear the air after arguments. It is also great for creating a gap between you and noisy or disruptive neighbors. To use white sage, burn it to allow the smoke to fill the corners of your home. Walk around your place to fill your home with positive and loving energy.

  1. Singing Bowls or Bells

Many of us know that sound is a powerful tranquilizer and can also help to harmonize the vibration of your place. Singing bowls and bells can help stimulate different types of energy. There is a belief that these things can balance the right and left sides of the brain, can reduce stress, and can improve meditation practices and relaxation. Singing bowls or bells are a great way to cleanse your space or second-hand furniture, reduce anxiety about your living condition, and promote peace and clarity.

  1. Crystals

Crystals also offer a great way to fill your home with positivity as they can absorb, clear, and re-calibrate negative energy. The crystals that are listed below are best to use in filling your home with positivity.

Clear Quartz: can help strengthen positive energy in your home as it can absorb and clear negative energy. It can also help reduce fear, stress, and anxiety. Place the quartz around computers, in the bedroom, kitchen, in the living room, or anywhere you need positive energy.

Rose Quartz: can help create harmony, trust, and good relationships within the home. It is perfect for couples looking to make a healthy relationship. Rose Quartz is excellent to keep in your bedroom. Make sure to use two crystals if you wish a romantic relationship.

Amethyst: can help promote spiritual development and finding your higher purpose. It can help also absorb negative entities, stagnant or stuck energy, and is a powerful protector. It is also great when you want to stimulate your creativity and intuition. Place amethyst in your meditation room, home office, or in the main living space.

Jade: can help promote family harmony, friendship, and mindfulness. It can also energize and can help you feel safe and supported. It is also said to improve functional health and fortune. Place the jade in your office, in the front door, or the main living area.

Tigers Eye: can help protect your home and space from unwelcome visitors and negative entities. It can also help create a stronger, more balanced energy in the house to motivate and help you set goals. Place this in the home office or anywhere you need a boost of energy.

When you want to fill your home with positivity, make sure to follow these tips as they can help make your home free of negative energy.

Creative Ideas to Bring the Spirit of Christmas in Your Home

 

 

 

 

Creative Ideas to Bring the Spirit of Christmas in Your Apartment

All of us, even those with a different faith, love the holidays. Don’t let your space or budget hold you back from celebrating the holiday season to the max.

These creative ideas will show you how to deck your home with DIY Christmas decorations.

Look for some spare ornaments, and DIY the rest

When you are ready to decorate your apartment and want to start your ornament collection from scratch, it can be a strain on your budget. So before you start mass-ordering ornaments, ask your family and friends if they have any extra items that’s just taking up space in their homes. There’s a high chance that they have things that’s no longer needed, like an extra set of lights just gathering dust in the garage. If they aren’t being used it anymore, they’ll probably be happy to give them to you. Once you’ve collected these things, you can easily make ornaments on your own.

Hunt for cheap holiday decorations

Your home holiday makeover will soon be complete. It helps to decorate your walls, coffee tables, and windows, which you can do without bleeding your pockets. To hunt for cheap holiday decorations, look for some thrift stores. After that, stalk the aisles of a shopping mall for affordable displays. Make sure to search online for any seasonal flash sales. It’s also a good idea to stroll through holiday pop-up stores in your neighborhood. You can find affordable items there like those ubiquitous paper star lanterns.

DIY holiday decorations for your home

When you want to save on your holiday decorations, try to do it on your own. Begin with crafting classic: the Mason jar snow globe. You can find supplies such as glitters, glue, and tiny sleighs at your local craft store. Making holiday decors is simple enough for a child to make. So if you have kids, you can invite them for fun in engaging holiday activity. Also, you can create a cute votive display with upcycled cans, wrapping paper, and a wooden hanger

If you still have in mind like making a wreath but have already drained your budget, make one out of gift bows. Get a Styrofoam wreath ring and Attach a loop of floral wire around it, you can find these at any craft store, save-on-crafts.com, and even Dollar Tree. After getting all the supplies, you can now hot glue your bows to the ring.

Make Christmas tree potpourri

If you have bought a large tree, collect a few fragrant branches for a festive potpourri. All you need to do is collect two small branches, break them up, and then combine them in a brown paper bag with cinnamon sticks, cloves, dried orange peel, and cotton balls containing essential oils. Combine them all and then marinate it in an airtight container for one week. After that, you can bust out the potpourri; this can make your apartment smelling like Christmas.

Line your windows with paper snowflakes

It’s not just kids that appreciate paper snowflakes; everybody loves to see snowflakes on the windows. Even if you are not a skilled crafter, you can easily make some seriously difficult ones. Regardless of your paper-folding proficiency, lining your windows with paper snowflakes is a cheap and fun way to brighten up your windows. You can search tutorial from Martha Stewart on how to make fancy paper snowflakes.

Display your holiday cards

Many of us are still getting tons of holiday cards from friends and family across the country. Displaying your loved ones’ holiday greetings with smiling faces is a surefire way to boost holiday cheer, so don’t relegate those cards to a pile on your counter. Make use of the vertical space of your apartment by hanging the cards up on the walls. Turn the holiday cards into a jolly display with a tree branch and some ribbon.

Wrap your cabinet doors like presents

Wrap a red polka dot ribbon onto your cabinet doors and hot glue glittery red bows on top. It’s simple, beautiful, and you can reuse the supplies year after year for Christmas. If you have some extra ribbon and bows hidden somewhere, use them to apply a cheery touch to your kitchen cabinets. As these holiday decorating ideas prove, wrapping your cabinets in a simple red ribbon can make your kitchen downright holly-jolly.

If you want to make your apartment look great during the holiday season, try to apply these creative ideas so you can feel the true spirit of Christmas in your apartment.

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