Category: How Tos & Tips

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7 Easy Ways to Prevent Impulse Buys

There are instances when it is relatively easy to control impulse spending. All you needed to do is to avoid entering stores. This allows you to avoid many spending opportunities. There are also instances when you would watch As Seen On TV where you can buy products over the phone. Door-to-door salespersons may also pass by the house. These are instances when you are tempted to spend impulsively. But, it was easier to control this impulse before the coming of the internet.

Since most Americans own either a smartphone or a tablet, buying something has become easier. You can even do it while stretching out on your bed. This makes it important to know how you can avoid impulse spending that will affect anyone who wants to save money. You should avoid these enticements like candy bars displayed close to checkout counters in a grocery. It is also important to be careful of modern ways of spending. These modern methods include targeted social media ads, freemium games, and shopping apps.

But, even as it is easier to spend on impulse these days, it is also easy to avoid this type of spending. There are seven ways for you to easily control impulse spending.

1.Remove credit card or Paypal information on online retailers

All online vendors offer a useful service that allows them to store payment information. This makes it unnecessary to enter the information each time you decide to buy something. But, this service is beneficial for the vendor. It allows customers to buy something from them at the click of a button even if they do not think about their purchase.

You will feel frustrated if you have to look for your credit card and enter the information before you make a purchase. But, this frustration can serve as a reminder that you should not spend on impulse. This reminder is need so you can think twice about your purchase before you complete it. Online vendors do not keep your purchase information if they do not benefit from it.

2. Remove internet access to online retailers you like

While I took out my financial information from all the online shopping sites I like, I still have the information in my head. So, my online impulse spending did not slow down to a significant degree. But, I found a way to stop me from visiting these online shopping sites. I installed an application to filter out these sites automatically for me.

One such program is Optenet Web Filter PC. It blocks users from gaining access to a specific range of internet sites. The software allows you to select the type of websites you want to block. These websites may include shopping sites, social media sites, and game sites, among others. You can put a password on it to let you avoid easily accessing them. A friend can choose the password for you. This way you will not be able to disable it easily. You can also make your own password using a random set of numbers and letters. Store the password in a place that is not easy to access. You can put it on a shelf inside the closet of a guest room or the attic. This will make it unlikely for you to disable the block whenever you are thinking of shopping online.

3. Uninstall shopping applications on your smartphone

Scrolling through the shopping apps of online retailers on your smartphone is fun. But, this also makes it tempting to shop online. You can remove this temptation from your life.

4. Unsubscribe from online shopping sites

It is also not easy to resist the temptation to buy something online when you receive emails from online retailers. You should unsubscribe from these online sites to avoid getting any emails from them. But, if it is a hassle to unsubscribe, you can filter these emails and make them go straight to the recycle bin. This way you do not have to see them at all.

5. Purchase online using gift cards

Downloading your favorite songs from iTunes is easy since they cost less than a dollar each. But, this also makes you are prone to spending too much on songs and games. The same thing goes with upgrading games on your smartphones and tablets. These are small purchases that may end up costing a fortune when you add them up. You may end up spending too much if you simply click and buy anything that you like for your mobile device.

But, you can avoid this type of impulse purchase using your smartphone or tablet. You can get a gift card from Google Play and iTunes every month. This acts like a limit on the amount you spend for your mobile devices. After you used up the gift card, you will have to wait for the end of the month before you can purchase anything.

6. Look for free entertainment

Since I read a lot, I normally get ads and emails on some books that may pique my interest. The algorithms of Audible and Amazon recommend the best books on the market. These are the books that I like to read and may end up listening or reading them. But, this also makes it easy for me to spend more than I have to when it comes to books.

Because of this, I bookmarked the website of the local library on my browser. The app is also installed on my smartphone. When I receive a notice about a book I am interested in, I log into the website of the library and make a reservation for the book. This gives me the instant gratification similar to when I buy the book. But, I do not need to spend anything.

Even though it will take some time before I get the book, I would have at least have a book ready for me to read in the library. This happens since I make a reservation on books every week. This method can also be used when you want to watch a movie or listen to music. It is applicable to all types of entertainment you can access at a local library.

7. Have a snack

The old adage that you should never shop at a grocery store when you are hungry is true. Based on a study by Roy F. Baumeister and Matthew T. Gailliot in 2007, self-discipline is partially affected on the blood-glucose level in your body.

This becomes noticeable when you are hungry while inside a supermarket. You will be tempted to get something that you lack. But, the connection between blood-glucose levels and self-discipline is also true to other kinds of temptations. The researchers said a certain level of glucose is needed for self-control to work without any problems.

This indicates that you can get a fruit or any complex carbohydrate to prevent impulse spending. You can do this whenever you feel the need to buy something that you will not need in the end.

What types of water are perfect for tea brewing

brew-tea-waterYou may hear Lu Yu called Tea Saint and his tea scripture. Tea scholar Lu Yu lived in the Tang Dynasty. He was a poet, a historian and an artist. In his tea scripture, he wrote the perfect water for brewing tea was from the center of a swiftly moving mountain stream. However, nowadays, we cannot easily have access to this perfect type of water, because it is very difficult to find the water resource. We are busy and our environment has been polluted. Therefore, we need to consider some other options to get ideal water for brewing tea. We can get several types of water. Here are their pros and cons when it comes to tea brewing.

Well Water

Mostly, the ph of water is over 7. This means it may contain many minerals that make water take on unwanted flavor. Therefore, you’d better use a filter to purify it before brewing.

Well water is not the perfect water for direct using to brew tea due to its higher pH. It is recommended to test your water and if the PH is above 8.5, the water is very hard and you need to use a water filter to filter it or to use a water softener to make it soft enough.

After boiling the filtered water, you also can smell minerals, meaning it is too hard to cook tea.

Bottled water

If your tap water is low quality, you may consider buying bottled water to cook tea. Don’t buy mineral water because it is too hard to make your tea taste harsh or metallic. On the other hand, distilled water is also not suitable because it is too soft to make your tea taste flat.

Another choice is high quality spring water. When choosing one, some types may be much better than others. The ph of spring water should be around 7 and water should be in flavor. TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) content should be less than 30 PPM (parts per million).

When it comes to choosing between spring water and filtered tap water, you also need to consider the environmental impact and the cost. If the filtered water from your home water filtration system is as good as bottled spring water, it is highly recommended to use tap water, saving you much money and reduce the impact on our environment.

Tap Water

The most common type of water we can easily access is the tap water. Although it may be low quality, we can use a water filter to get high quality filtered water. Besides fresh mountain stream water and high quality bottled spring water, high quality filtered water is also perfect for brewing tea. In some areas, the tap water is too good to not be filtered.

If you find your tap water is very hard, you may need to install a whole house water softener to soften your water first and then use an under sink water filter to purify your water furthermore. This is because hard water is bad for tea brewing. Or you also can consider buying bottled water if you don’t want to invest in such a water softener and a water filter.

I use a Brita water filter pitcher because the quality of my tap water is very good and I just use my Brita filter to improve its taste and smell. There are also many other best water filters you can choose from. Pur water filter pitchers are also high quality. If your water is not hard but contains many contaminants(like chemicals, heavy metals, viruses & bacteria) , you can install a 4 to-stage Reverse Osmosis water filter. Brands like Ispring, Watts, Home Master are very good. For more information about more RO systems, this article is helpful. And we also made a list of top 5 best water filter pitchers for you to choose from.

Because soft water makes the tea flat-tasting, if you are a serious tea aficionado, you can add some minerals back into soft water for balance by adding some types of rocks in your electric water kettle.

How to get fluoride out from our drinking water?

Fluoride-PoisonFluoridation is widely used for water treatment by many water treatment facilities. However, this is a controversy issue, because on the one hand fluoridate is helpful to kill viruses and bacteria in our water, on the other hand it is unhealthy to our body. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss how to get it out from our water. I also list some ways that cannot get fluoride out from our water.

Effective method to get fluoride out from our drinking water

Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration

Reverse Osmosis is widely used to purify water. Many types of bottled water are RO water. Therefore, some bottled waters don’t contain fluoride and they are fluoridated. When you buy bottled water, pay attention to its label. And if it is ro water, you can buy it. However, buying a RO system may cost you a few hundred of dollars. It seems a little expensive, but it can work for you for many years. The cost in the long run is lower than continuous consuming bottled water.

Activated Alumina Defluoridation Filter

These water filters are not affordable. Most are over $30 and you need to replace it frequently. Mostly they are used for emergency where fluorosis is prevalent. It is only a choice for home filtration.

Distillation

There are many water distillers on the market that are also equipped with a post filter to get fluoride out from our water. However, just remember distilled water doesn’t mean it is good for drinking, because other contaminants may be in it. If you plan to obtain distilled water, you can choose a countertop water distiller to help you make distilled water at home with a lower price in the long run.

How To make distilled water?

Ways that cannot get fluoride out

  • Water Filter Pitchers, like Brita, Pur -Water filter pitchers are mostly activated carbon filters and they can improve the water taste but cannot get fluoride out from our water. Some websites boast they can, but I check these products official websites and found that the answer is no.
  • Boiling water can only concentrate the fluoride, because water vapors rise and the water in the container becomes less while the fluoride is still in it.
  • Freezing water cannot influence the quantity of both water and fluoride, so the concentration doesn’t change.

Ways to Reduce Fluoride Exposure

  • Pay attention to fluoride supplements and don’t take them.
  • Check labels carefully to make sure there is no fluoride in bottled beverages. If they are not made of distilled water or RO water, mostly they contain fluoride.
  • Choose unfluoridated toothpaste.
  • Keep away from red or black tea.
  • Although some studies show that drinking black or red tea has many benefits due to their special chemical compounds, they may contain a high concentration of fluoride. Therefore, you should keep away from them.
  • Tinned fish or canned food may contain fluoride because fluoride is commonly used as a preservative.
  • Items that contain red or black salt may have a high concentration of fluoride, so avoid them.
  • Chewing tobacco may also expose you to fluoride.
  • Some medications contain fluorine, so don’t take it for a long time and you can ask your doctor for an alternative. For example, certain antidepressants may be not suitable for a long time use, so the medications for osteoporosis are.

12 Easy Ways to Tell You How to Conserve Water at Home

save-water-at-homeNo matter where you live, drought areas or not, we have our responsibilities to conserve water, because water resource is limited on our planet. Potable water on earth is limited and we need a lot of resources to purify water, costing plenty of money and putting pressure on the environment. The following tips are pretty easy but can help us try our best to save water at home. They don’t tell you not to consume water but consume water in an economical way.

  1. Take showers instead of taking baths. Generally, taking reasonable showers use less water than taking a bath. Filling a bathtub with a large amount of water is a waste of water.
  2. Take a shorter shower. Although taking a shower is helpful to conserve water, if you take a long relaxation shower, there is no different from taking a bath.
  3. Make the dishwasher run as a full load. You’d better not pack it in so tight, or the dishes cannot be effective to be cleaned. However, running a half full dishwasher is a waste of water and energy.
  4. Make your wash machine run as a full load. This is similar to above. It is not recommended to wash a few items. If your clothes that need to be washed is less, you may consider add other items, like curtains, any bedding, table cloths, as well as other items which might need washed.
  5. Gather grey water that is reclaimed from your shower and use it to water your plants. Water your plants with grey water reclaimed from the shower.
  6. If you plan to take good use of grey water, installing a whole house system is a good idea, making the process much easier.
  7. No leaks allowed. Any leak from your faucets or pipes can cause a waste of water. If you don’t pay attention to these leaks, you will find you pay much more for your water bill than other months before. Therefore, checking your faucets and pipes on a regular basis and making sure there is no leak can prevent from wasting water.
  8. Turn off your faucet when you don’t need water. In many situations, we make our faucet turned on without any water needed. For example, when you brush your teeth or hand-wash dishes, you’d better not make your faucet running.
  9. Low-flow faucets and shower heads are helpful to save water. Therefore, when you have to install faucets or shower heads, choosing these low-flow fixtures can save much water for you due to their special features that can effectively choke down the water flow. However, it is not recommended to get them if your current water pressure is very low. In this situation, you don’t have to install them.
  10. Drop a full water bottle or a brick in the toilet’s tank. This can reduce the capacity of the tank and reduce the amount of water each time to fill the tank.
  11. Store drinking water in the refrigerator, if you would like to drink cool water. This is helpful especially in hot summers. If you have a habit of drinking directly from the faucet, you may need to turn on your faucet and leave it running until cold water is ready, which may cause a lot of water wasted. Therefore, just store a few bottles of water in your fridge, and you can get one immediately when you need to drink cool water.
  12. Wash your car with a bucket of water and rinse it off with another bucket of water. This uses less water than use a hose to wash.

How to Make Distilled Water Drinkable

water-lemon-juiceIf you plan to drink pure distilled water, you have to suffer the odd and awful taste of distilled water. If you are the first time to taste it, you will feel it is so terrible. Generally, it is not a big problem if you just stock a few bottles of distilled water for emergency use, because at least they are safe to drink. However, if you tap water is contaminated or cut off, you have to face the serious problem that you have to drink the weird-tasting distilled water. In this situation, how to make distilled water drinkable or tasteful becomes very important. The solution to this problem is pretty simple.

Step 1 – First, you need to decide how much water you may need to drink. If you can drink a whole bottle of water at a time, skip to the next step, or just pour 1 cup of distilled water into a glass.

Step 2 – According to your preferences, there are many different flavor enhancers for you to choose from, like orange or lemon slices, other fruit juice and other powdered drink mix. Choose one of them and add it to your water. If you feel the water tastes a little unpleasant, you can choose orange or lemon slices. Just squeeze a little of the orange or lemon juice into the water. If you want to have a strong fruit taste, you can add more fruit juice, for example, 1/4 cup, or 1/2 cup. A powdered drink mix is also good choice and very convenient.

Step 3 – Taste the water to see whether the flavor is better.

Step 4 –If you feel the taste is a little mild, you can add your chosen flavor enhancer in small amounts and keep tasting until you feel the flavor is what you want. Record how much flavor enhancer you added to a cup of water, because you don’t have to experiment again but add the same amount when you need to prepare another cup of flavored distilled water.

Step 5 – When you have to prepare many cups of flavored distilled water, the record is also useful. You just need to know how many cups of water you need to add enhancer and then pour the water into a larger container. And then multiply the number of cups by the amount of the enhancer. Add the same amount of enhancer you’ve calculated to the container and mix with the water. For instance, if you have 8 cups of water to add flavor, you need to add 4 cups of fruit juice into the container (supposing you added 1/2 cup of fruit juice in the above steps).

Tips

  • There are many commercial flavorings for water on the market. However, you should remember some of them are artificially flavored and added more sugar which you may not like. You also can choose some mineral drops that can supplement the minerals in water, making the water tasting fresh. Just stick to the directions on the package which will tell you how much you need to add.
  • You need to know the container can contain how many cups of water. If the size is not large enough, you need to flavor your water cup by cup.

Distilled water is easy to make. You can use a home water distiller to make distilled water at home or just choose some distilled water brands.

Top 10 best free alternatives for paid services

freemoney2When it comes to cutting expenses from your current budget, this doesn’t mean you have to give up something to lower your living quality. This means you can look for some free alterative for your current paid services and these free services are not different your paid services. Here, we’ve listed top 10 best free alternatives for paid service in your life.

1. Free Cable/Satellite

If you wish to chase the latest episodes you love the most, you can use Hulu instead of cable or satellite to keep up with them. Hulu even can offer you some shows on premium channels, such as history,lifetime, HGTV, etc. and then you can hook an antenna up to your TV to search for the latest shows to chase. On the internet, there are many networks that can offer at least 2 channels of programming, making more free TV available than before.

2. Free Movie Subscriptions

On Crackle and Hulu, there are plenty of free movies you can catch. Therefore, if you want to save money on watching the movie, browsing their libraries to find more free movies is really a good idea. If you want to see a relatively new movie, you can sign up with your mobile phone to receive the notice from Redbox. You can send a text message (offers)to 727272, and then a free rental code will be sent to you on the first Monday of every month.

3. Free Antivirus Software

If you are just using paid antivirus software, now you can try some free software, like AVG, Avast, or Microsoft Security Essentials. They are powerful enough to protect your computer without any virus or malware. They are free, which is very important. Now, you have enough reasons to trade in your current paid antivirus subscription.

4. Free Magazines

You also can end up your magazine subscriptions, when it is time to come up for renewal. In fact, there are some ways to avoid the paid renewal. You can use the method in this article to snag a free subscription for another year, or just make your current subscription run out but just get the latest magazine from the library. Nowadays, there are plenty of libraries allow you to check out magazines or download digital versions. In a word, borrowing seems better than buying, because you don’t need to pay more money and deal with outdated magazines that pile up.

5. Free Internet Service

Now you can try free wireless internet service from FreedomPop but ditch your broadband or DSL internet service. If the 4G free service is not available in your area, you can consider free wi-fi hot spots instead.

6. Free Cellphone Services

You can easily get 500MB of free data every month if you sign up on FreedomPop. You also use some apps like Heywire or Textfree to test for free, and you also can sue Textfree, Skype Mobile, or Viber to make free calls. You should kick the pricey cell phone package to the curb.

7. Long Distance

If you need to make a long-distance call, you can use Skype or other online voice service or your cellphone to make a long-distance call. To avoid that, you’d better cancel your long distance service on your landline.

8. Free Dental Care

Dental Care is also pricey and you can search for dental schools in your area. And then visit their website and make a call to know what kinds of dental services they provide. This can help you find free or cheaper dental care. If you are just a low-income individual, you may find free dental services in your local health department. You also can look for some free dental clinic. Here is website called dentistryfromtheheart.org, and visit it to check whether there is or will be a free dental care in your area.

9. Free Haircuts

You can look for a cosmetology school in your area and the service from it may be cheap or free. What’s more, if you are a hair model, some salons may provide a free cut.

10. Free Gym Membership

You may think you have to go to a gym for exercise. However, more and more church gyms offer the same amenities that a paid gym offers. These great amenities include walking tracks, weight rooms, game courts, or exercises classes. Therefore, you can find a church without the membership fee.