Home Maintenance

Price or Service: Local Nursery vs. Big Box Store

As I’ve mentioned before, I have several Home Depots and a Lowe’s near me. Both have garden centers, however I’ve found that I usually prefer to go to the local small chain nursery for plants, even though the prices are higher. Sometimes, the better service and quality is worth the higher prices. Soil and Compost If I just need a bag of garden soil, I’ll hit Costco or Home Depot. In…
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True Adventures in Homeownership: 17 Weeks Down

It feels almost like a pregnancy, except it won’t be over in nine months. Maybe I’ll just stop counting by the time nine months have passed! This last month has presented us with several more challenges, but what some of my homeowner friends are going through is much, much, much worse. Don’t Buy New Construction This isn’t my lesson, this is my friend’s lesson. So far he’s discovered…
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Top 10 Things to Buy at the Dollar Store

Friday I saw a flippant post that listed ten things not to buy at the dollar store. It so ticked me off that I’ve decided to create a list of ten things you should buy at the dollar store. Kitchen Towels If you’re looking to replace paper towels, hit the dollar store to buy cheap kitchen towels. Even if they only last a month or two, that’s still…
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how-to-shop-for-washer-and-dryer - a picture of washer and dryer

How to Shop for a Washer/Dryer

The first thing we need to buy for our new home is a washer/dryer set. So, How to shop for a washer and dryer you might ask? Well, I’ve wasted a lot of time by going about this in the wrong order. Now you get to learn from my mistakes. Most of these tips will also hold true for any appliance, but we’ll start with the two I…
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How to Stay Warm this Fall and Winter

Although it doesn’t get super cold in Los Angeles, it does get chilly (really, it does.) I don’t like to crank up the thermostat, so I’ve come up with a few other ways to keep warm in the fall and winter. Check for Drafts Check your doors and windows for cracks or drafts before it gets wet out. Seal them or repair them now so the warm air…
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10 Affordable Ways to Update Your Home

With home prices falling, people who were considering selling are now staying put and learning to live with what they have. But you don’t have to put up with stale design elements. If your home’s size and layout still works for you, here are some simple, mostly affordable fixes that can update your home and make it feel newer. Paint Painting the outside of your house can cost…
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New Homeowners: Request a Gas Safety Check

After our new dryer was installed, we asked the Gas Company to come out and perform a safety check. If you’re a new homeowner, it’s worth it for peace of mind, and may prevent future potential problems. How to Arrange the Safety Check Simply call your gas utility and ask for a “safety check” appointment. If you smell gas, tell them and they should be at your house…
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My Frugal Failure While Furniture Shopping

Try saying that fast three times! This weekend we went to buy a sofa bed for our guest room. I’d researched possible stores and narrowed it down to two options. We decided to go with one from Jennifer Convertibles. The price was $599, which was within our budget. We liked the color it came in, so we didn’t go for a custom fabric. I’m not sure if that…
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Save Big Money by Learning Simple Home Repairs

Now that we’ve lived in our house for several months, problems are starting to crop up. Some will require a handyman or even a major replacement, but others are things I’m learning to fix myself. My husband’s first response to most issues is to suggest calling the handyman, which is weird because his dad was a plumber. My first response is to see if we can fix it…
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DIY or Hire Professionals for House Projects?

We have a few projects pending on our house and we’re debating whether to DIY them or hire them out. Sometimes, it comes down to cost, and sometimes it comes down to effort. Where do you draw the line? Curtains As I’ve mentioned before, I have access to cheap fabric. When we moved into our house, I calculated the cost of making or buying curtains for a very…
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