About Angie

As a blogger for FiltersFast.com, I try to bring a fresh perspective to issues regarding air and water filtration focusing on topics that matter to those like me; a typical, yet supreme, multi-tasking, working mom. Environmental impact and health concerns are addressed in my writing, as well as fun, helpful tips to better juggle that crazy thing known as life!

How to Create a Budget

piggybank - Copy

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.

Appreciating the DIY Husband… Let Me Count the Ways

Toilet Repair... with assistance!

My husband: teaching the next generation to DIY

This month, my employer FiltersFast.com is honoring all of those DIY people out there.  As the proud wife of a DIY man, I would like to take this opportunity to say “Thank you, DIY people” for making life a little easier for the rest of us!  Upon further reflection, I realize both of my parents are also DIY, so all of my life I have seen what a little ingenuity, some creativity and a little (or lot) of hard work can accomplish.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have seen some massive DIY failures along the way; but I won’t go into those.

But this is about my husband and how his DIY prowess never fails to amaze me.  See he grew up on a dairy farm, which he claims is where he learned his skills. But, as an observer of people, I have decided that you either “are” or “are not” a DIY person by nature. Though with some effort, you can be somewhere in between, like myself.

Here is a brief rundown on some of the DIY projects/ skills my beloved has accomplished:

  • Changing the oil in cars/ trucks (TRACTORS)
  • General automotive maintenance; changing wipers, headlights, batteries etc.
  • Built a huge deck on our house
  • Painting
  • Install hardwood flooring
  • Remodeled bathroom (tore out old walls, replaced with nice new ones)
  • Cuts down trees (BIG ONES)
  • Basic plumbing; replace garbage disposal, repair toilets etc.
  • Install ceiling fans
  • Assembled trampoline (This is not as easy as it sounds. I know people who paid someone to do this, so I feel this counts.)

You get the picture.  After 14 years of marriage, I feel good in saying there are very few things that my husband cannot fix around the house, in the yard or on the car.  It may take a little time, but I know without question that job will be done correctly.

Now getting back to FiltersFast.com honoring the DIY, here are a few benefits of being one or in my case, living with one:

  1. Saving money:  why pay a professional when you can “do it yourself”
  2. From concept to reality = satisfaction!  Let’s face it, it feels good when you are able to “do it yourself.”
  3. Gaining and applying valuable knowledge into practical (often transferable) skills.
  4. Self-sufficiency.  Not having to rely on others may come in handy during the zombie apocalypse.  Just kidding. But really, it is nice if something breaks in the middle of the night.

FiltersFast.com and myself would like to take a moment to acknowledge all of the DIY people out there.  Why FiltersFast.com?  Because as a leading source in the air and water filtration industry, we know a little something about repairing, replacing and maintaining household items; specifically air and water filters!

Thank you DIY people and keep up the good work!

Spring Swimming Pool Opening Tips and Checklist

pool opening tips

With spring right around the corner, it is never too early to start thinking about reopening your swimming pool for the season.  With temperatures rising and kids getting tired of being cooped up inside, why not focus on what’s to come…. swimming, frolicking and general pool merriment!  This process does not have to be a huge hassle with a little preparation and time management.   If you are sure that winter cold weather is behind you and temperatures seem to be stable, usually in the 70’s as a rule of thumb, then the time to reopen the pool has arrived!

Here are some basic steps to follow:

  • Clear debris from OUTSIDE of the pool.  This is often overlooked, but can be a real time saver in the long run.  Make sure to clean up any leaves, branches, dirt and other debris in the surrounding pool area that would later be tracked into the water.
  • Remove the cover.  Clear all debris and standing water from the top of your cover to avoid a big mess later when preparing the cover for storage. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on cover removal and use all appropriate tooling as needed.
  • Add water to appropriate operating level for your pool.
  • Change plugs and check skimmer baskets/ basket strainers for damage.  Make sure to remove all of your winter plugs and parts that were installed to prevent freeze damage.  Replace with your in-season plugs and parts.
  • Clean debris from pool bottom.   Add a chemical clarifier to help breakdown the debris. Start by raking out the largest debris, and then use your vacuuming system for a thorough cleaning. Don’t forget to brush the pool walls as well. Visit Acepools.com to find a variety of cleaning systems.
  • Start the pump and filter system.  Follow instructions carefully.  Check filters for damage and water leaks at connections. Backwash your filter if needed. Replace filters as necessary.
  • Shock, test and stabilize the water. Chemically shock your water, then 24 hours later, test it. Once desired chemical levels are achieved, don’t forget to stabilize or condition your water to prevent rapid loss of chlorine due to UV rays.  Throughout the season, make sure to use a high quality algaecide to kill any present algae and to prevent it from forming.
  • Take inventory and replace needed items.  Now that your pool water is ready, go ahead and check other pool parts such as lighting, steps and ladders, pool toys, and all other equipment and maintenance items.  Repair and replace as needed.
  • Set-up your outdoor sanctuary. Clean and set-up your outdoor furniture, table and chairs, tiki torches and barbecue grill. 

Now all you have to do is wait for the truly warm weather to arrive so that you can start enjoying your backyard oasis!  Please visit Acepools.com, part of the Filters Fast family, for all of your swimming pool needs.