How to Create a Budget

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When I went away to college, my parents told me to “make a budget”.  When I graduated from college, my parents told me to “make a budget.  When I was planning my wedding, my parents told me to “make a budget.”  When we were looking to buy our first home, my parents told me to… you guessed it, “make a budget.”

By this time in my life I should probably be an expert on budgeting, but I am not.  Like most people, I occasionally fail to see the big picture and give in to impulse buys or spend too much money on a pair of jeans, or eat out too many times per week.  But, that does not mean I should throw in the towel and just spend money all “willy nilly”.

Occasionally I hear my father’s voice reminding me to “tighten the purse strings” and that “money doesn’t grow on trees”.   This is my conscience reminding me to sit down to redo our loathsome, yet necessary household budget.  I am after all, a reasonably responsible adult with a child who will be going away to college in less than 8 years.

There are many factors that play a role when creating a budget from scratch, especially if it is your first time.  The task may seem overwhelming, but there are a few very basic tips to follow.

  1. List all “fixed” expenses.  These are expenses that do not change month to month.  These may include rent/ mortgage, car payment, insurances, utilities, loans, credit card bills etc.
  2. List all “variable” expenses.  These offer some flexibility such as groceries, entertainment, travel, eating out and general “fun money”.
  3. Know all sources of monthly income.
  4. Do the math… subtract fixed expenses from income.  Then factor in variable expenses.
  5. Don’t forget to factor in all of your savings/ retirement plans!

That’s it!  You now have a very basic household budget to work off of.  Once you have a budget created, whether you choose to use any of the many software options available, or if you prefer to create your own spreadsheet, keep it handy.  Look at it often.  Remember to reevaluate and adjust your budget over time as things in your life change and evolve, as they will naturally.

Remind yourself of your long-term goals.  This will help strengthen your will power and make it easier to walk away from those $100 jeans or that $6.00 cup of coffee. Personally, I hope to be able to retire and live comfortably when the time comes.  I want to be able to travel some and spend plenty of time on some beach.  That dream, along with my parents voices saying “make a budget” help keep me on track.

To help keep your budget on track, visit FiltersFast.com for all of your water and air filtration needs.

How to Change Your Refrigerator Water Filter – Step-by-Step

 

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Ladies, we know that we are capable of doing anything.  We are the masters of multi-tasking; devoted wives and mothers, working both inside and outside of the home. So why are there still some tasks that seem to send us irrationally into panic mode? Certain “maintenance” type tasks were gender specific in the past, but by 2014 a lot of the stereotypes have broken down.

Let’s take changing your refrigerator filter as an example.  Most of us rely on our husbands to handle this, because frankly, we are not sure what, how or when to do it ourselves!  So I have complied a simple “How to Change Your Refrigerator Filter” instruction that will allow you to add this to your ever expanding skill set.

  1. Know when to change the filter.  Most need replaced every 6 – 12 months depending on the use frequency.  If you have a larger family that uses a lot of water, it might not last as long. Your water and/ or ice may start to taste funny or different.  A lot of refrigerators will display an indicator light when it is time for a change.
  2. Determine which type of filter you have:
  • Push-in filters are built into the appliance. They fit into a compartment within the refrigerator usually on the front bottom, behind the grille, or within the upper right interior and are generally easy to install.
  • Twist-in filters are just that.  Usually found in the upper right interior, they will either have a push button release, or simple twist release.
  • Inline filters attach at the back of the refrigerator to the incoming water line. These are generally going to be found on older models that do not come with a built-in filter.

 

**One important note; before you discard your old filter, make sure to note the make/ model number so that you can obtain the proper replacement filter. **

 Once you determine the filter type/location, follow these basic steps to replace it:

Push-in filter:

  1. Remove and discard the old filter by pushing the “eject” button or by twisting off the filter cap.
  2. Remove the filter cap on the end of the filter to reuse on the new filter.
  3. Line up the arrows on the new filter and on the filter cap.  Snap it into place by turning it clockwise.
  4. Continue pushing the filter in, until the eject button pops.
  5. Make sure the cap is secure.
  6. Reset Refrigerator Water Filter indicator light if equipped.

 

Twist-in (base grille) filter:

  1. Locate the filter cap in the base grille; turn to the left to remove.
  2. Slide the filter handle on the end of the filter to reuse on the new filter.
  3. Discard old filter.
  4. After removing new filter from packaging, replace filter handle and insert by twisting into place.
  5. Reset Refrigerator Water Filter indicator light if equipped.

 

Twist –in (interior) filter:

  1. Filter is located in the upper right interior of refrigerator.
  2. Open cover by either pushing or pulling.
  3. Release old filter by twisting counterclockwise.
  4. Insert new filter and lock into place by turning clockwise until it snaps.
  5. Reset Refrigerator Water Filter indicator light if equipped.

 

In-line filter:

  1. Turn off cold water supply.
  2. Between the shut-off valve and refrigerator, locate an easily accessible portion of tubing. Cut tubing, by using tubing cutters for copper/plastic. Cut square not angled to avoid leaks. Smooth cut edges with steel wool or file if necessary.
  3. Remove end cap on new filter and insert tubing. Lock into place by holding down end cap.
  4. Turn water supply back on.
  5. Hold filter over a bucket and run water until clear. Do this for both ends of the filter.
  6. Make sure to check for leaks

 

After replacing your refrigerator filter, make sure to run a gallon or two of water and discard.  This will flush the carbon residue from the filter.   And that’s it… mission accomplished!

If you need any advice on what kind of filter you have, part number or even installation assistance, you can contact Filters Fast, the experts in the air and water filtration industry.

 

Efficiency in the New Year… Time & Money Saving Tips from a Busy Mom

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To cry or rejoice; I’m not sure, but regardless, the holidays are over.  The kids are back in school and I am back to work.  The hectic schedule that is life as a working mom resumes.  This year, one of my resolutions is to simplify… streamline, if you will.  I would like to be able to accomplish the same amount of tasks more effectively and more efficiently.

I’ll admit that I am somewhat on the right track being a “Type A” personality, as my husband likes to call it, though I prefer “organized.” For example:

  • I thoroughly enjoy making lists and checking things off. (Organized!)
  • I’ve begun carpooling to and from my son’s school. (Saves time AND gas!)
  • I plan out what I will be cooking AT LEAST two weeks (sometimes more) in advance. This way I don’t have to waste mental energy trying to decide what to make or waste time and gas making multiple trips to the grocery store. (Possibly a little over the top, but hey, it does save time!) 

 

Now that I’ve got that stuff mastered, I am going to try to implement new strategies into my plan.  For starters, I plan to do more on-line shopping. This is a proven time and money saver and you cannot beat the convenience factor, which let’s face it; convenience is a pretty big deal in our busy lives. Shopping on-line not only offers convenience, but it also offers you the opportunity to compare prices, shop from the widest variety and can offer great discounts not found in traditional stores… all with a few clicks on your keyboard!

autodeliveryOnce you find easy to use, reliable sites for your online shopping, the time and money saved will add up quickly. I happen to work for a company that is a great example of this: Filters Fast. As a busy mom, I know how it is easy to overlook certain household maintenance tasks such as replacing refrigerator and air filters.   Air filters, for example, need to be replaced every 3 months, refrigerator filters every 6 – 12 months.   At FiltersFast.com, you can sign up for Auto Delivery!  No more trying to remember when you need to replace the filters, what size you need etc.  Instead, you will receive a reminder email, details included, informing you that your order is on its way!  An additional advantage to using Auto Delivery is that you will automatically receive a 5% discount!

Did you know you can buy groceries online also? A lot of the larger grocery store chains now offer online shopping. How convenient is that?  There might be a small surcharge involved, but the time you save is invaluable.

Here are the general steps:

  1. Go to the site, pick out your groceries, and pay (via credit or debit card).
  2. The store pulls your chosen items and packages them for you.
  3. Select a time you wish to pick them up. The store will have them waiting curbside when you arrive.

There are many things we can do to simplify our busy lives with a little advance planning.  I plan to do more online shopping this year. Go ahead and knock some items off of your “To Do List” such as ordering your replacement air and water filters from FiltersFast.com. The convenience of Auto Delivery at Filters Fast cannot be beat. Let’s streamline, get organized, save money and most importantly, save time; our most precious commodity!

Please visit FiltersFast.com for more information on the super time saving Auto Delivery option!