Tips for Saving Money by Troubleshooting Appliance Repair

Appliances in need of repair

From subscription services for coffee and tea, meats, and even movies, people are constantly trying to save money on the things they use and love. However, when it comes to household appliances such as the fridge, dishwasher, stove, or washer and dryer, instead of trying to troubleshoot what’s wrong with their appliances, they either call in the professionals or simply replace them instead. 

In reality, you’ll save a lot more money by downloading appliance troubleshooting guides, such as DIY refrigerator repair manuals, than you will by replacing the appliance instead. In this blog, you’ll find some of the ways you can save money by troubleshooting and DIY repairing instead of calling a repair service or replacing the appliance. 

Repairs Cost Less/Add Years of Use

Think about it, spending a little bit of money on parts and tools for an appliance beats spending hundreds for a repairman or thousands to replace the appliance. Not only does the troubleshooting guide work you through what could be wrong with your appliance, once you fix it, it’ll add years to the life of the appliance as well. What’s not to love about that? Less money and extended years of use make it a win-win for sure. 

Older Is Usually Better Made

While newer is sometimes considered to be better, in reality, older appliances are just made better and are much sturdier. While older appliances aren’t as energy-efficient, they do have better parts than newer appliances do. The appliances of yesterday were made with quality metal parts, today’s appliances are apt to be made cheaper with a lot of plastic that breaks easily involved. If possible, it’s better to repair than replace, even with the energy-efficient models on the market, if you want the appliances to last you for years to come. 

Newer Appliances Use Complicated Computer Technology

While everyone has to eventually be dragged into this highly tech-driven world, you can prevent that with your appliances by repairing them yourself instead of calling someone or replacing them. Technology tends to break easily and you’re stuck with an appliance that you don’t know how to repair, so why not stick with what you know as long as you can and save money at the same time? Modern kitchen appliances have their place in the world, but not while your old ones are still useful. 

Motherboards Are at Risk

Many consumers don’t realize that today’s high-tech operated appliances are at risk just because they are tech motivated. A power surge or a storm can easily fry your new appliances even if they aren’t being used, just because of the motherboards that operate them. This will end up costing you more money than it would have to download an appliance repair manual and fix your old appliance DIY style. This isn’t to say that an appliance can always be fixed, but you should do what you can to fix the one you have until you can’t. 

Helps to Protect the Environment

Finally, though it won’t save you much money, repairing your appliances means that you’re doing your part to save the environment. So many old appliances end up in landfills, which pollute the earth to no end. While eventually you will have to replace every appliance, no matter how good you are at your DIY repairs, you can put this off by downloading troubleshooting manuals and at least giving it a try. 

These are just a few of the ways that you can save money by downloading troubleshooting manuals to repair your own appliances instead of replacing them, or calling in outside help. While they will eventually have to be replaced, it won’t be today.  

How to Market Your Business While Maintaining Your Budget

Marketing a business

Marketing your business can be difficult to say the least. With 2020 posing challenges for many small businesses, it may be time to consider ways to market to a wider audience while also saving money. From business closures due to the pandemic to paying your employees, it may seem like you can never catch a break.Thankfully, due to the digital era, there are plenty of ways to take advantage of the internet to market your business successfully. 

Need some great ideas to help you make marketing a priority? We’re here to give you a list of inspiration!

1. Social Media

With Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn becoming popular social media platforms, it is an excellent move to make a business account on these platforms. There are also exclusive features for businesses on these sites. Start by building an audience and following other local businesses or loyal customers you are in touch with. You can potentially partner with other businesses and ask them for a shoutout or to tag you on a post. 

After you’ve built an audience you can work to keep them engaged by creating fun content. For instance, Instagram has a story feature where you can post for 24 hours until it expires. Stories appear at the top of a users page– meaning they are more likely to see it over a post. On the other hand, LinkedIn is great for networking and making business connections. If you are able to manage your time correctly, you can use as many social media sites as you’d like for free.

2. Google My Business 

Google My Business (GMB) offers small businesses a free account– essentially Google wants your business to succeed and be able to compete with larger businesses. When you create a GMB account, you have access to enter all the necessary information your business needs like the address, phone number, and name. You can connect with customers through Google search or maps and create a great first impression. With Google being the largest search engine in the world, creating a business page will most definitely get your name out there in your local area. 

Make sure to fill out all the necessary information on Google My Business. Additionally, optimize your business page by using keywords you want your business to show up for. For example, if you are a yoga studio you may want to include “hot yoga” “yoga membership” or “ vinyasa yoga”. That way, when users are searching for any of these terms, your business listing will show up!

3.  Create a Blog 

Blogs are great opportunities to extend your digital marketing strategy by implementing keywords and building your SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization and with more keywords, you could rank higher amongst other businesses. A blog is a great way to build your SEO and get more potential customers to visit your website– meaning more future sales.

4.  Build Reviews 

Reviews are a driving force behind consumer decisions. A positive online reputation is so important these days. Yet, with so many review sites out there, it can be difficult to keep up. Most review sites offer free business profiles. Everyone has heard of Yelp reviews; they seem to run supreme as one of the biggest review platforms in the US. Yelp cannot be overlooked as the company made over $900 million in revenue in 2019 alone. Additionally, sites like Google and Facebook also offer customers to write reviews for your business– meaning you will reach a wider audience. 

5. Create Ads

Once you feel you’ve built an audience on social media and the internet, you can begin making ads. There are many different types of ads that are available to your business. Facebook and Google are your best bets to target the customers you truly want. The best part is you can put a small amount of money towards your ad spending in order to experiment with what works and what doesn’t.  

If you’re feeling intimidated or confused by ads you can hire a digital marketing agency to help you get started. For instance, if you are a law firm that handles DUIs, you can invest in DUI lawyer marketing to get the ball rolling. You can also work with someone to get a low rate!

6. Offer discounts and create great customer service

Lastly, customers love discounts, so try to offer an incentive to get them to start business with you. Anything that gets customers talking about your business and the great deals they’re getting! Additionally, once a customer decides to do business with you, ensure that they are pleased with their service. There is nothing worse than having a first-time customer leave a bad review on something that could have easily been avoided. 

5 Factors to Consider When Buying a Car

Buying a car

Buying a car can be an exciting process. However, the excitement can blind a person to the point where they can’t see the difference between a deal and a dud. The following are five factors you need to keep in mind when buying a car.

1. Considering Lifestyle

Your lifestyle should play a factor when buying a new car. For example, if you’re someone who drives through various types of terrain for work or just for fun, you need a vehicle that can handle it. If you have a large family, then a small car won’t serve you too well. The trunk of your vehicle has to be large enough to accommodate your needs. In essence, you want the vehicle you’re thinking of purchasing to solve as many issues in your life as possible. This is how you know you’ve made a good choice.

2. Thinking About Finances

It’s essential to think about your finances when making this purchase. A new car shouldn’t cause you a headache, and that could happen if you don’t budget right. A vehicle that’s too expensive will stretch you too thin and make it challenging to pay the installments. The good thing is if you’re looking for auto loans in Fresno and other major cities, a company will loan you what you can comfortably afford. They’ll do this by looking at your credit report and assessing your cash flow.

3. Out for a Spin

The test drive is usually overlooked. Of course, everyone takes the car out for a spin, but it’s usually done to drive the car or for fun. You need to take the test drive more seriously and avoid letting the salesperson control the ride. Don’t get suckered in by the gadgets, the satellite radio, or any of those little things. These are factors the auto dealership will dangle in front of your eyes. Yes, they might be nice, but you want to pay attention to how the vehicle handles curves and turns. Try to look around the vehicle. Are there blind spots your old vehicle didn’t have?

4. Look at the Reputation

You should be sure to pay attention to the vehicle’s brand reputation. It may not seem like much, but the reality is each brand has its weaknesses and strengths. If you care about safety, then look for a brand that consistently scores high with safety ratings. Those who care about convenience may want to look for perks like keyless entry and other little things like that. You should also find out if the vehicle’s brand makes cars that are hard to repair or not. Some brands build their vehicles with easily replaceable parts.

5. Incorporating the Weather

The weather is another thing you have to keep in mind when purchasing a vehicle. If you live in a seasonal climate or like to drive through areas that get too cold, then be sure your vehicle can handle it. For example, you might want to have heated seats and a heated steering wheel for your comfort. You might want to consider a few cooling features like ventilated seats for hot areas like Southern California. You might also want to have dual-zone automatic climate control, which gives you a chance to control the temperatures for each passenger.

Try to incorporate these factors as you start the car purchasing process. The more you address, the better your choice will be, and you’ll probably be happier, too.

Management Tips to Get The Most Out of Your Credit Cards

Couple sitting in the park with credit card

Whether you’re trying to establish or improve your credit history, a credit card is a viable solution. They’re a lot easier to qualify for than a personal loan and can be used as many times as you’d like to make purchases (as long as you continue to pay down the balance). However, all too often, people obtain credit cards and mishandle them, resulting in an accumulation of debt and poor credit history. 

Essentially, the most effective way to reap the benefits of being a cardholder is to be financially responsible. Whether this is your first or fifth credit card, the tips listed below can make credit cards more comfortable to manage. 

Select The Right Card

Not all credit cards are the same. As such, it is essential to do research to determine which is best for you. More than the credit limit, you want to apply for a card with low-interest rates, minimal fees, and perks or rewards programs that you can use to your advantage. 

Review Paperwork

It’s exciting to receive an acceptance offer from a credit card company. However, keep in mind that accepting this offer is like going into a contract with the creditor. In exchange for a line of credit, you agree to repay the balance in full, along with any interests and fees. So, before signing on the dotted line, however, you should review all the paperwork. You want to ensure that you’re aware of what you’re getting into. 

Develop a Management System

To be a responsible cardholder, you must develop a system to keep up with your accounts, due dates, and payments. When you’re unaware of what you’re spending, when payments are due, and how much is owed, you run the risk of missing payments. Missed payments then lead to late fees, penalties, accrued interests, and a negative credit rating. 

Fortunately, there are several strategies and tools to manage your credit card accounts. You can install a debt payoff app that can assist you with payment reminders, automatic payments, and late payment protections to keep your accounts in order. You can also use debt management apps, calendars, and automatic bill pay services through your local bank. 

Make Timely Payments

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to pay your credit card bills on time. Review your card statement to identify the due date. Then set up automatic payments or put a reminder in your calendar to ensure they are paid by that date. If you’re short on funds for one month, at the very least, you should pay the minimum amount to avoid late fees and poor credit ratings. 

Keep a Reasonable Balance

Just because you have a credit card with a $1,000 limit on it doesn’t mean you should spend the entire $1,000. Most account holders fail to realize that the utilization rate is a factor used to calculate your credit score. A utilization rate is how much you owe compared to your card’s credit limit. Lenders and service providers use this information to determine your ability to handle your bills. Keeping your credit card balance at 35% or lower is advised. So, if you have a $1,000 credit limit, you try and maintain a balance of no more than $350. 

Make Informed Purchase Decisions

When you have an extra few hundred or thousand dollars, it can be tempting to spend it on things you really want. What’s important to remember, however, is that you have to repay the balance with interest. While you don’t have to pay it upfront, the interest and fees accrue over time, increasing your outstanding debt. You could spend years trying to pay off that flat-screen television or that new wardrobe you purchased. So, it’s best to make informed decisions when using a credit card. If it’s not something you can repay in a few months, chances are you should wait. 

Credit cards can be a real gem when used correctly. They can be the foundation for establishing credit, enabling you to acquire anything from loans to affordable car insurance without an issue. To reap the benefits of credit cards, you must manage them responsibly using tips like those provided above. 

5 Ways to Save Money on Home Repairs

Doing home repairs

Believe it or not, home repairs don’t have to be incredibly expensive. There are plenty of ways that you can save money on essential fixes.

1. Set a Budget and Keep to It

First, set up a dollar amount that you’re comfortable with spending. Next, contact your contractor and see how much a repair will take. If it ends up going over your budget, see if the repair can be done with cheaper materials while ensuring that more affordable doesn’t mean shoddier. If it’s an essential repair that you can’t live without, like a burst pipe or broken furnace, then see if your contractor will set up a payment plan that fits your needs and wallet.

2. Have Repairs Done During the Offseason

Demand for certain home improvement services goes up and down throughout the year. Because of this, homeowners can save money by opting for services in the offseason. Take repair services for heating and cooling in Santa Rosa, for example. If you need AC repairs, try having them done when temperatures are cooler. If you need furnace repairs, late spring or summer is a good time for them. Insulating your plumbing can be done in the summer before frozen pipes become an issue. This way, you’re more likely to get a good deal for the job since these are in lower demand.

3. Perform DIY Repairs Whenever Possible

Simple fixes, like snaking your drain or repainting peeled paint, can be done without the need of an expensive professional. Even replacing window panes can be done by yourself with little difficulty. All you need to do is keep your skills and limits in mind. If you don’t know how to do something safely or can’t learn too easily, then a professional may be a better option. If you can learn quickly, however, you can look up simple fixes on YouTube videos or a whole host of websites.

4. Keep Preventative Maintenance a Priority

DIY preventative maintenance can cost money, but it costs a lot less than a massive repair job down the line. Cleaning gutters and sealing cracks can prevent roof leaks and basement flooding. Taking care of pests can keep you from repairing structural damage caused by termites or carpenter ants. Fixing pipe leaks can keep you from having to undertake expensive plumbing replacements. Changing an AC filter every month can also keep unnecessary repairs away while cutting down energy costs.

5. Prioritize Your Repair Needs

Not all repairs have to be done right away. Before you contact a professional, think about whether or not the issue at hand will lead to more significant problems down the road or if it’s just an inconvenience that you can live with. Is the issue an immediate safety hazard? Can it cause bigger issues if left unaddressed? If any of these can happen, then contact a professional right away. If not, leave it until you can save enough money to have it done without breaking your bank.

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll not only save a lot of money on repairs, but you’ll prevent a lot of repairs from happening in the first place. You’ll also gain the skills necessary to undertake simple repairs yourself and save hundreds of dollars by not calling a professional contractor.

Financial Advantages of Having a Credit Card

Shopping with a credit card

When it comes to personal finance, credit cards tend to have a bad reputation. If you were to conduct research, you’d find money blogs and financial experts advise consumers to steer clear of using plastic. In all fairness, this advice is based on the experiences of individuals who misused their credit cards and consequently suffered financially. However, the truth is that when used correctly, credit cards have several advantages. Continue reading to learn more. 

Establishes Credit History

Credit is essential for purchasing products and services. It is a summary of your financial accounts, assets, and money management practices. Whether you’re trying to apply for car insurance or a home loan, your credit history is a determining factor in whether you get approved and how much assistance you can receive. As you might imagine, a person without a credit history doesn’t give creditors, lenders, and service providers much to use. 

Credit cards are one of the first types of financial products you can use to establish a credit history. Many credit card companies have fewer guidelines than banks allowing applicants with no credit history to apply easily. From the moment you get approved, the account is added to your credit report. Creditors then maintain a record of your payments by reporting to the three major credit bureaus every month. 

Builds Credit

It’s not enough to have a credit card on your credit report. If you’re going to get approved for loans and save money on other products and services, you need a favorable credit rating. While several factors determine your rating, making timely payments is at the top of the list. When you use money management practices and tools that help you pay your Sears credit card or your Capital One Mastercard on or before the due date, this is reported to credit agencies, reflecting positively on your behalf. 

Reward Programs

Credit card companies go to great lengths to attract new audiences to their products. Such marketing tactics often include offering rewards programs in addition to a line of credit. Depending on the type of credit card you apply for, you could receive percentages off your purchases, cashback, points towards future purchases, and frequent flyer miles. Some credit cards even offer travel, product, and payment protection insurance. 

Covers Financial Emergencies

While having an emergency savings account is recommended for financial protection, your credit cards can be another nest egg. Should an unexpected expense arise that you don’t have enough money to cover, you can charge it to your card and repay the balance in installments. Using credit cards to cover financial emergencies ensures you can handle the situation instantly to avoid further consequences. 

Fraud Protection

Financial theft and fraud happen all the time. Criminals gain access to valuables and use them to fund their own interests. Victims are left to pick up the pieces. While the odds of retrieving a wallet full of cash are improbable, credit cards are a lot easier. Once you contact your creditor and report a stolen card or suspicious activity, they will provide protection, including closing the card, issuing a new card, and covering the costs of any purchases you didn’t advise. 

Acceptability

For those who love to travel internationally, credit cards are your best friend. It’s a lot easier than trying to acquire local currency. Since most credit cards are accepted everywhere, you won’t have an issue paying for anything from your airline tickets to souvenirs. 

If you held off on applying for a credit card because of all the bad press they get, it’s time to reconsider your decision. Of course, credit cards can cause issues if you take on more than you can afford, max them out, miss monthly payments, and allow fees, penalties, and interest to accrue. However, if you use them to make wise purchases, keep the balances under 35%, and make timely payments, the skies are the limit. If the above financial advantages have persuaded you to want a credit card, ensure that you do your due diligence to select a card that is most convenient for you. 

Save Money with These 10 Subscription Services

A collection of makeup brushes and powders.
Save money on makeup with a subscription like Ipsy.

Subscription boxes are popular today, and it is easy to see why. Everyone loves getting mail, especially packages. Like Julie Andrews sang, “Brown paper packages tied up with string,” have sweet suspense, like a gift on Christmas morning, and they are one of our favorite things.

Subscriptions are great for several reasons. First, they can actually save you money. By paying a flat rate each month, you can save money on products you already buy or would like to try. Secondly, they are like giving yourself a treat. Thirdly, they are a delightful gift idea, and truly a gift that keeps on giving. 

Here are ten fun AND useful subscription ideas you might not have known about:

#1 Clothing

The options here are endless. There are boxes for men, women, children, and babies. Is it more T-shirts you need? Socks you are always losing? Maybe a fresh monthly pair of undies, or some new activewear? How about some trendy pajamas? There is a subscription box for you! There are also companies that send you complete outfits based on your style choices. 

#2: Produce and meat

Do you want to eat healthier, but find it expensive? A subscription to Imperfect Produce or Misfits Market could be the key. They will send you a package of fresh fruit and veggies that are discounted because they could not be accepted by a grocery store because of a misshape. This not only saves you money, but it also causes less food waste. 

Carnivore Club and ButcherBox are two meat boxes you can subscribe to that send you specialty cuts of the meats of your choice. 

#3: Coffee and tea 

With a good coffee subscription, you can get your morning started right. Some companies offer coffee from around the world. Trade Coffee Co. has the best french press coffee, and they totally customize your coffee experience by allowing you to choose what types you enjoy, the grind setting, and how often you receive it. 

For those who would rather a cup of tea, Sips By is a good choice. They have so much variety that it is a tea discovery box. They let you set preferences for flavors and types with their quiz, which you can retake as often as you want. 

#4: Makeup

Ipsy is an inexpensive subscription that sends you five beauty supplies each month. This way, you get to try new products, other companies, and different shades and colors without breaking the bank to be your most beautiful you. 

#5: Period supplies

Monthly and Co., Period Packs, and Tampon Tribe all offer period supplies like tampons, pads, feminine wipes, and other self-care necessities for those days. With a monthly subscription, you will never be caught without period supplies when you need them. 

#6: Cleaning supplies

Clean & Green supply you with laundry care that is fresh and natural. The Honest Company can send you personal products like shampoo and hand soap, but they also have a cleaning line of cleaners for every area of your home. 

#7: Contact lenses

Hubble Contacts and SightBox have subscriptions for contact lenses, so you never run out. 

#8: Books

A book box subscription is a great gift idea for kids, and there are many choices available. Or, if you are a reader yourself, try an adult book subscription. The Hygge Book Club sends books AND other fun trinkets, like fuzzy socks, notebooks, and tea. 

#9: Cheese and Wine

The Gold Medal Wine Club is a fancy wine subscription that offers only gold-medal awarded wines. While you are at it, pair your wine subscription with a good cheese from Curdbox so you can enjoy the full experience. 

#10: Crafting

Adults and Craft Crate will focus on a different type of craft and send you a starter kit with the tools and instructions each month. 

Whatever you enjoy, whether it be snacks, healthy eating, fitness, jewelry, or your pets, there is a subscription box that you would enjoy. Have fun treating yourself.