3 Easy Ways to Slim Your Take-Out Budget

My husband and I are notorious take-out food eaters. Unfortunately, as we begin talking about children, we’re realizing that our budget is not going to be able to afford take-out food forever. Since we are loathe to give up our take-out food, we’ve begun strategizing ways to enjoy our pizza and Chinese without the extra costs. If take out food is your vice, this is the guide for you.

Pizza Night

My husband loves pizza. When we first started dating, he was eating a pizza a day. I’ve worked with him and he now has more variety in his diet, but pizza is still his favorite food.

Luckily for me, he’s usually pretty happy with frozen pizza. We stick it in our toaster oven for twenty minutes and he has dinner in less time than it would take the delivery guy to get to our house.

If he’s feeling fancy (or I’m joining him for pizza), we can make our own. Making pizza at home is way easier than I would have ever given it credit for. You can buy pre-made dough at the grocery store in tons of great flavors. I’m partial to the garlic dough. Slap on a couple of spoonfuls of your favorite sauce (I like Alfredo), some cheese, and toppings, and throw it in the oven. The great thing about this is that you’re not only saving money, but you know exactly what’s going into your pizza, and you can get whatever whacky toppings you want without paying a ridiculous up-charge.

Chinese Food

Chinese food is my vice. I’ve actually loved the eat at home challenge because it means that I can have Chinese food on nights my husband is eating pizza. We don’t have to worry about paying two delivery fees, and the leftovers of both of our foods go straight towards our lunches for the week.

Of course, Chinese food is useless without rice. Although you can cook rice in a pan, I’ve found our rice cooker invaluable. If you don’t already have a rice cooker, check out this list of rice cooker reviews. You will thank me later.

The frozen food section in the grocery store is a huge help with Chinese food as well. You can find frozen General Tso’s, Orange Chicken, and Beef and Broccoli pretty easily. While eating pre-packaged frozen food isn’t as healthy as making it yourself, I’ve found with Chinese food it’s the easiest thing to do, and it is way easier to swallow a five dollar purchase at the grocery store than a thirty dollar take-out bill.

Sub Sandwiches

My husband and I would pick up sub sandwiches on our way home from work when we were feeling like eating vegetables (not often, I’ll admit, but it happened sometimes). Now that we’re not eating out, we’ve been struggling to eat this at home. Lettuce goes bad in our fridge way too fast!

The trick with this food, I’ve learned, is shopping with multiple purposes in mind. If I buy a bag of rolls, I know that only two of them are being used for sandwiches, so I plan the rest of the rolls to go with my meals that week: I can make garlic bread out of them, or peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, or toast for breakfast. Instead of buying lettuce for our sub sandwiches I buy spinach because it can easily be tossed in pasta or cooked up with eggs. The great thing is that not only have I found a way to enjoy sub sandwiches, but I’m encouraging my creativity as a cook after the fact as well.

That’s it–three easy way to slim your take-out budget. I’ve found that with a little meal-planning ahead of time, it’s actually quicker to make take-out food at home than it would be to wait for delivery, and it’s definitely cheaper!

Heavy-Duty Welding Tools

Three Heavy-Duty DIY Tools

We all know the essentials that comprise the average homeowner’s unassuming toolshed, but what about those slightly bigger toys that you need now and then, for that odd job the humble hammer is just not going to do justice?

There are some great gadgets out there for the everyday man that will save your skin at just the right time, every time. They might also inspire you to venture out into the toolshed more often. Here are three heavy duty DIY tools you can get creative with out of the garage.

A Sledgehammer

The first heavy-duty DIY tool that is going to come in handy as you become more proficient at home jobs – that trusty old water cylinder is eventually going to leak is the sledgehammer. A cousin of the traditional hammer, the sledgehammer is bigger, heftier, and can tackle those more labor intensive jobs that a hammer just won’t do justice.

While there are typically two weights that the sledgehammer falls in, the slightly lighter one coming in at 10 pounds will be more than enough to get around those heavy projects you’ve got lined up to attack when the weekend comes around. From breaking apart stubborn wedges of wood that won’t seem to budge, to bringing down those old beams in the garage that have been needing replacing for years, a sledgehammer is the type of tool which you’ll quickly find useful for all kinds of home jobs.

A Welding Machine

The second heavy duty DIY tool that will save you a lot in the long run because nobody wants to have to hire one of these every time they need it is a welder. If you’re a petrol head who just loves to get down and dirty with the inner workings of your vehicle every Saturday, then you’ll find that a welder will come in handy.

Even if you’re just trying to find something to get the kids out of the house and into the yard, there are endless projects to get their creative juices flowing. From making a bookend and connecting those two last pieces of metal, to reconstructing the interior of your car to match the neighbors project, a welder is the kind of tool that’ll make your life easier. Check out Best TIG Welder Reviews – List, Comparison, and Guide | prowelderguide.com for the full range.

A Pipe Wrench

The third and final heavy duty DIY tool is slightly more specific in its practicality but nonetheless helpful and the perfect fit for those sticky situations you can find yourself in as a homeowner – the pipe wrench. A pipe wrench, true to its name, is a wrench that tends to cater primarily to the fixing and adjusting of pipes. However, when you have a tube that has malfunctioned or even just one that needs fitting correctly, there’s no other tool for the job.

Every home is bound to experience plumbing problems at some point in its long and happy life, so you’re guaranteed to be calling for this exact tool more often than not. You have a choice of cast iron or aluminum, and while cast iron will ensure quality and endurance with that heavy duty task, aluminum lasts the mile if you’ve got lots of little jobs.

Conclusion

When it comes to DIY tools for the home, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Owning a home comes with its excitement and unexpected adventures, so it’s better to be prepared and ready to deal with anything that crops up rather than being left out in the cold. With heavy-duty DIY tools, you can even have a little fun with it, getting creative with the kinds of projects you can find lying around the house that has been wanting your attention for months, plus, the kids will want to get involved as well.

Three Ways to Extend the Family Home

One of the greatest goals and achievements for most people in life is to get married, buy a house and have children (hopefully in that order!).

Buying and owning a family home brings much joy and the making of many wonderful memories that can be attached to it – but that family’s not going to stay small forever. Soon they’re going to be rambunctious teenagers demanding their privacy and the privilege of using any space in the house they please. This could be a good time to start thinking about the possibility of adding to that house, giving it some character and the ease of indoor outdoor flow so that the parents can be left in peace while the kids run amok. Here are three great ways to extend the family home, turning it into a place that fits everyone’s needs.

The first way to extend the family home is by building a porch around its perimeter.

If the house is the kind that is relatively simple in design and has a basic geometric shape allowing for this sort of construction, a porch can be a great addition. Typically exposed to the elements but sheltered by an overhang, a porch is a perfect place to put a comfortable chair, a small table for drinking that morning coffee, or planting a mini garden that can be maintained right out of the front door. Porches extend the house without completely changing it.

The second way to extend the family home is by adding a patio around the back that connects that back door of the house more practically with the backyard.

A patio is a larger extension of the home, built with the purpose of having an outdoor area capable of entertaining guests and even dining outdoors in those warm summer months. Patios are usually paved and often covered so that they can endure all types of weather. Driveways Derby offers high-quality patio paving, an essential part of completing the sophisticated, finished look of the patio.

The third and final way to extend the family home is to add a deck to it.

A deck can be either laid out against the external wall of the house at ground level or if the house is two stories, added to the second story. A deck is a great way to combine the practicality of a porch and the entertainment value of a patio, with the ability to host outdoor dining, place pot plants or embark on a mini-garden, or give your teenagers a place to hang out with their friends without being in the way inside.

Extending the family home and bringing additions to it that is only going to enhance its value, property-wise and memory-wise are right decisions. With growing families and needs put on the home changing as children grow, it’s always a good idea to reassess things as they change and think about what could be added to make life just that much more enjoyable. Ways of extending the family home like the three mentioned above are invaluable to making a livable environment enjoyable and entertaining. Porches, patios, and decks give the ability to get the most out of owning a home and connect the house with the front and backyard, giving both areas a new purpose. There is an endless array of benefits to embarking on the extension of a family home, and when choosing the right contractor and building materials, these benefits will endure and outlast the children staying at home.

Trimmers and Edgers Handle Hard-to-mow Areas Effortlessly

If you are looking for a high quality string trimmer or edger, you have endless options to get what you need. How you plan to use these two will definitely influence your decision.

One of the biggest shortcomings of traditional lawn mowers is the inability to trim hard-to-reach areas of the yard. Today we want to look at the various areas of your home that can benefit from the use of these two machines. Though different in some way, they’re all comparable and you get a perfectly-manicured lawn when you use each. Let’s go!

Fences

Fences form a much-needed barrier between your property and the outside world. Apart from enhancing the privacy of your property, it also adds to the curb appeal of the property. Although they come with these and many benefits, they can give you a headache when it comes to their maintenance. This is because the roots of the fences form a haven for weeds, making it hard to remove using traditional weed-management tools.

Use a string trimmer to cut away the stray weeds that hug your fence line. If you have used a hedgerow between the fence and the grass line, you might have an easier task because you will only have to use the trimmer on the grass edge.

You can use the machine on picket fences, chain link and any other fence types that allow growth of weeds.

Lawn Furniture

Getting up to outdoor furniture such as wrought iron yard chairs using a lawn mower can be next to impossible. If you use force and get to the chair, you stand to damage the furniture or dull the blade of your mower. This is when you need to pick up your trimmer or edger and nip the grass blades from around the bases of these items without any damage to the machine or the furniture itself.

However, you need to be a little bit careful with ceramic items that might get chipped if you make contact.

Walkways

No matter the kind of material you have used on your pathway, you need to trim and clear the edges of overgrowth. These edges usually get overgrown with grass, shrub and other weeds. Start with an edger then employ a string trimmer before using a blower to achieve a well-manicured look.

Stationary Vehicles

Weeds and grass grow very fast, especially when they get the right shade and moisture. Parking your car in the lawn can lead to grass growing around the tires. This is especially true if you leave the car in the same spot for weeks on end or if you have a classic car that you drive on rare occasions. Instead of wracking your brain looking for another spot to park the car, you can use a trimmer to get rid of any high grass flourishing around it.

Getting rid of the grass eliminates the appearance that shows that you have neglected the car and it is in disrepair. Additionally, there won’t be any clumps of glass sticking up when you finally move the car.

Protrusions

Mowing is tough when you have things that have been placed in various locations around your yard such as lighting controls, meters or irrigation systems. Most of these protrusions have grass growing around them, which requires a string trimmer to remove the grass without damaging the underlying equipment.

Garden Edges

If you have gardens that hold plants, you need to trim back any overgrowth on the edges. You can use the trimmer on scalloped or edges made of bricks. Removing the overgrowth defines the border between the garden and the lawn.

This also holds true with ditches that have stone or concrete walls. Use trimmers and edgers to remove any overgrowth without causing a problem with drainage.

Around Trees and Shrubs

If you implemented a sophisticated landscape design, then it features at least a few full grown trees and bushes. Allowing the lawn to grow right up to the base of the tree makes the lawn uniform. However, it brings issues with mowing. Make sure you use a trimmer and edger carefully around the base so that you don’t damage the tree.

Final Thoughts

One of the allures of a trimmer and an edger is the ability to handle hard-to-mow areas of your yard. Use these machines the right way and you end up with the best lawn in the neighborhood.