How to Save With Home Services

How long does it take you to scrub the floors? How much energy do you expend trying to fix the lawnmower? How much space are you losing by trying to store all your belongings in your garage?

Though sustainability and healthy personal finance often require a bit of DIY, you might actually be putting yourself in the red by attempting complex and arduous tasks on your own. Sometimes, paying a professional to complete the more tedious tasks around your home is actually a financially savvy option. Here’s how you can save by hiring for home services.

How DIY Is Costing You

Once you stop to think about it, you will realize just how much you are losing by attempting to do everything around your home by yourself. Not only do you have to pay for the tools ? the chemical solvents, the scrubbers and dusters, the powerful machinery ? but you also lose the potential money you could earn if you devoted that time to more profitable pursuits. The time you spend on your hands and knees weeding your lawn is time utterly wasted in a financial sense, unless you enjoy joint pain and grass stains.

Worse, your undone chores are likely adding an unnecessary weight of stress to your already-stressful life. Home-related responsibilities are often a source of tension between spouses as well as between parents and kids; inevitably, one member of a family will demand more orderliness than the others, and everyone will suffer. If hiring professionals do clean up the house and yard will lower your cortisol levels, it is well-worth the price.

Essential Services Worth Paying for

Of course, not every chore requires professional effort. Particular labors that are either incredibly frequent, like doing the dishes, or especially personal, like sorting your desk, are best left to you and your family. However, there are certain services that can and should be paid for, such as:

Cleaning. This means deep, difficult cleaning. There are places in your home you simply don’t know how to clean property; maybe your parents never taught you, maybe you don’t have the tools, or maybe you just don’t ever think about where grime actually gets. A cleaning service will scrub your floors to their original color, make your bathroom fixtures shine, and suck the stubborn pet hair from every corner of your house.

Lawn care. Lawns require way more attention than you probably expect, which means yours might be on the verge of death. Before the brown spots cover your entire yard, you should acquire lawn care services. Lawn professionals know the healthiest grass height, the best season to fertilize, and the most effective chemicals for killing weeds and pests, so you don’t have to worry about a dry and ugly lawn.

Pool care. Like lawns, pools are especially beloved features of yards. Also like lawns, pools can go really bad really fast. Without the perfect mix of chemicals, your pool can turn into a swamp in a matter of hours. Pool professionals have the testing equipment to diagnose pool problems and perform expert pool maintenance, even when it isn’t pool season.

How to Save on Services

If you are still concerned that home services are too expensive to consider, there are a few tricks to save money without going full-DIY, such as:

  • Using apps. Technology has brought home services into your hands. Apps like Handy and TaskRabbit connect cheap labor with busy homeowners to complete chores faster and easier.
  • Trying a-la-carte. When you book a services provider, most will ask precisely what you need. You can ask for particular services without committing long-term to an expensive full-service agreement. For example, you might ask cleaners to address common areas like the kitchen and living room and leave bedrooms to be cleaned by their inhabitants.
  • Opting for low frequency. Unless you are an utter slob, you probably don’t need a cleaner to come every day. You might not even need services every week. As long as you can keep your home under relative control, infrequent services will cost less.

It is easy to become bogged down by money in and money out, but good personal finance should consider more than cash. Relying on a few home services can dramatically improve your quality of life without emptying your checking account. Professionals are more efficient, more economical, and generally better at their trade than you could ever be, so relying on them might save you big in the long run.


How Houseplants Can Improve Air Quality in Condos

When you live in a condo with views of another condo or building, things can get a little depressing. Add a little color to your space and breath (literally) new air by introducing houseplants. Plants add an instant wow factor, and they’re good at keeping the air fresh. If you live alone, having another living thing in the house to care for is a huge plus.

However, if you don’t have a green thumb or if you don’t know how to properly maintain a plant, you can’t just pick and choose whatever it is you find beautiful. Just like people, some plants are tough and hardy, while others are weak and sensitive to slight changes. You should go with the tough bunch if you’re horticulturally challenged.

Time for Some Plants

The EPA warns homeowners that indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. The use of chemical cleaners, insecticides, wood polish, disinfectant spray and others leave trace amounts on surfaces. Varnish, paint, building materials, the heating of oil for cooking and fumes from gas also contributes to the negative air quality.

According to NASA, houseplants can remove up to 87% of air toxins in a 24-hour period, and research from Washington State University found that people who have indoor plants have lower stress levels than those who don’t. Indoor plants have been proven to improve mood, well-being and increase the feelings of calm and serenity.

So not only do plants help improve air quality in a condo, but they can also help improve mood and reduce stress, which are two legit consequences of living in a small space. NASA suggests that to improve air quality in your home, there must be a plant for every 10 square feet.

Here are a few hardy plants you can place in your condo to instantly change the mood and improve air quality:

Chinese Evergreen  – Also known as Silver Green, this indoor plant is very easy to take care of. It requires minimal water and can survive in low light conditions. Chinese Evergreens can potentially last you years, making it a great low-cost improvement to your condo.

Ficus – The ficus is another low maintenance plant that can survive with moderate watering and bright, indirect sunlight. Place this in a corner that gets a lot of sunlight and leave it to thrive. Ficus plants tend to grow tall, so keep that in mind if you have low a ceiling.

Cacti – Cacti can survive in extreme desert environments, with very little water and the sun bearing down on them. If it can take all that abuse, it’ll thrive in a condo. Just place it in a windowsill or a place that gets a lot of sunlight. As for water, the rule of thumb is every 4 weeks or when the soil is bone dry.

Aloe – Aloe plants are great at absorbing toxic air pollutants, so place a few in the kitchen. It’s also great for minor cuts, so keep some around if you have kids.

Succulent = Succulents are low maintenance plants that are built like tanks. They’re virtually indestructible. All you need is to water them once or twice a week and make sure they are exposed to bright sunlight.

Areca Palm – If you want your space to look a little more tropical, the Areca Palm is just what the doctor ordered. It requires little water and dry soil, making it one of the easiest indoor plants to take care of. These can grow up to seven feet tall, so choose a smaller pot to keep growth under control.

You Still Need Windows

Windows are a luxury in condos, especially if you’re stuck in a middle unit. Look for condo sites like Onessy that let you view unit floor plans, so you’ll know where the windows are situated. By investing in a little greenery, you can improve your mood and breathe healthier air that’s free of toxins.

Make sure that you choose the plants listed above, or any other plant species that require little maintenance. Just like any living thing, once you have plants in your home, it’s your responsibility to care for them. Always provide ample water and sunlight, change the soil every year and add a little organic fertilizer when needed.