Monthly Archives: October 2014

Garage Door Maintenance 101

Over the years, atter where your garage door is located-and that’s basic maintenance. But before you start tightening down bolts and checking tensioner pulleys, it’s important to know one thing-garage doors can be downright dangerous when they are improperly maintained.Garage Door

Look with your Eyes, Not your Hands

One of the most dangerous parts of a garage door is the tension spring for the balancing system. It’s located above most garage doors and can be easily seen-it’s a big spring under tension. Because the garage door is so heavy and awkward when it’s opened, it needs to be balanced with tension to help it easily open and close. Never attempt to adjust the balance without professional help as the tension could come loose and cause some serious injuries if you’re in the way. Take a look at all moving parts every two months or so. If anything looks out of place, call a professional garage door mechanic immediately.

Listen for Unwelcome Noises

A garage door is inherently noisy to begin with, but when squeaking, scratching, rubbing or grinding noises are evident, you might need to have your door serviced by a professional. In many cases, when weird noises are coming from your garage door, a simple alignment can help solve the problem.

DIY Garage Door Opener

If you have an electric door opener in action, it’s hard to tell if the door is misaligned or not. To test for misalignment, simply pull the emergency door release handle found on the garage door openers overhead track. Once the handle is released, the door can move freely without the need for the electric opener. Open and close the door by hand and check for any obstructions. If the door has trouble opening and closing, realignment of the door will more than likely solve the problem. Also check to be sure the door stays in place when the door is closed halfway. If the door falls, your counterbalance system may need an adjustment.


A garage door has lots of moving parts that need to be well lubricated to work at its best. Use a good liquid spray lubricant on all moving parts to help ensure the lifespan of your garage door is as long as possible. Be careful not to lubricate any electronic parts or you could end up doing more harm than good when maintaining your garage door.

How to Cut Your Living Expenses by 10-20 Percent in a Month

I’m currently saving money to buy an apartment in Spain. In cash. That’s why, several months ago, I decided to cut my living expenses by 10-20 percent, so I can sock away more money and buy that apartment faster. Easy to do? Absolutely. Plus, if I can do it – Miss I Must Buy Every Cute Thing I See – anyone can.

If you’d love to cut your living expenses by 10-20 percent in only a month, here are some of the things I changed in my life so my total living costs are now far below normal. None of them took any time to implement, and some took advantage of things I already had lying around the house.

1. Stop buying things you don’t need – As ridiculously simple as this sounds, it’s difficult to do for most. A latte every day. A book. A computer game. A cute t shirt. While we all justify our purchases with “It was only $10” or “It was on sale”, the truth is, unless you don’t have any coffee at all at home, or the only clothing you have is the shirt on your back, none of these purchases are things you need. Yet they add up to thousands of dollars a year.

With 1,000 DVDs I’ve never watched, 300 books I haven’t read and 250 computer games I haven’t played, plus the 50 outfits in my wardrobe I rarely wear, my chances of ever ‘needing’ to make certain purchases for the next 5-10 years are slim to none. Yet I was spending 20 percent of my monthly income every month to buy more. Until I stopped. Assess what you already own and don’t use, and you can as well.

2. Eat the food you have – Every time I used to go to the grocery store, I bought cans and packets of things I wasn’t likely to eat for months. Why? Well…..I might need it, it was on sale, or it looked delicious. When I decided to cut my living expenses by 10-20 percent a month, however, I stopped. Instead, I ate the food I already had – food I’d bought six months previously and never eaten.

That alone saved me over $75 in grocery bills the first month I did it. Several months later, and it’s still saving me $10-$20 a month.

3. Stop throwing food away – The average American and Brit throws away up to 25 percent of the food they buy, amounting to thousands of dollars (or pounds) a year. Money they could have spent on other things – or saved. Eat the food you have, and cook the food that’s getting close to its ‘eat by date’. That way, you won’t find yourself throwing away chicken or fish that was perfectly edible yesterday.

I went one step further and started to cook food I always threw away. Namely the vegetable stems my rabbits don’t like.

Instead of refrigerating the leaves and heads and throwing away the stems, I started to put the stems in a separate plastic box in the refrigerator. Sauteed in olive oil with half a chopped onion and a couple of cloves of garlic, then marinated in chicken stock and they became an amazingly delicious meal served on a bed of rice. Free too, when you factor in they would normally have ended up in the garbage can.

4. Shower the Asian way – Cutting your water and electricity bills is a great way to save 10-20 percent on your living expenses every month. One way I do this is to ‘shower the Asian way’, (well…I do live in Thailand!)

What that means is you turn the shower on and wet your hair and body. Then, turn the shower off, and shampoo your hair and soap your body. Turn the shower back on for rinsing. Surprisingly, small things like this can save you hundreds of dollars a year, as you use a tenth of the water you would normally use, and save the electricity it takes to heat and re-heat water. The same thing goes for continually running the water while you’re cleaning your teeth. Don’t.

5. Stop air-conditioning rooms you’re not in – With central air, many Americans will simply air-condition their entire house. Something few other nationalities will ever do. Why? Because it can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year to do so, is a waste of electricity, and terrible for the environment.

I live in Bangkok, officially the world’s hottest city, with temperatures regularly over 100 degrees. Yet I only air-condition the room of my apartment that I’m physically sitting in, so my utility bills every month are low.

If you’re not in a room, close the air-conditioning vents and shut the door. There’s no reason to air-condition rooms you’re not in. Plus, if you want to make sure rooms remain ‘aired out’ and don’t get that musty smell, simply air condition them a couple of times a week, and you’ll have no problems. The result? A saving of 10-40 percent on your utility bills every month, and at no discomfort to yourself.

6. Walk – Stop talking the car for five minute trips to the grocery store, the bank or even to your job. Walk instead, and save the money you spend on gas or maintenance on your car.

Up until a few months ago, I used to take motor cycle taxis everywhere in Bangkok. They’re cheap (less than $1 a trip) and they make getting to the store or mall a breeze. But…..even that small $1 a trip adds up when you’re doing it 20 times a week.

When I decided to cut my living expenses by 10-20 percent a month, I calculated I was spending more than $80 each month on short motor cycle taxi trips. Distances I could cover on foot myself in just a few minutes and with no more inconvenience than getting a little bit hot.

Now, I only take motor cycle taxis if I’m loaded down with shopping bags and they’re too heavy to carry. Otherwise, I walk. It’s 100 degrees in Bangkok many days of the year. If I can do it, you definitely can.

Simplify, simplify, simplify

Look at your life and be honest with yourself. What things do you really not need to buy? What things do you already own but never use? How much food are you wasting? Do you really need cable TV? (I ditched mine three years ago and, with millions of hours of YouTube videos available to watch for free, I haven’t missed it for a second). Can you walk to the place you would normally drive to? (and yes, you’ll lose weight as well if you do).

Change just 10-20 percent of the way you normally spend money and, voila, you’ve cut 10-20 percent of your living expenses every month. Soon, you could be buying an apartment in Spain – in cash – just like me.

Creative Ways to Decorate with Your Favorite Quotes

Quotations make a dramatic statement online, but they can make an even greater impact when used to decorate a bare wall or another location in a home. They do not have to be painstakingly painted on, at least not by hand. Do it the easy way using one or more of these creative ideas for using sayings, mottos and other text. Use your favorite quotes in your decorating scheme, and display them in unique and impressive new ways.

Create a Quote Wall

If you cannot settle on a favorite quote, decorate a bare wall with several sayings. Print and frame your favorites. Keep the display interesting by choosing frames of various sizes and designs, but coordinate the collection by painting them all the same color. Consider using cardboard mats as well. Picture borders look neat, and they add a decorative and colorful touch. Select a lighter shade that coordinates well with the frames. Mount the framed quotes about two inches apart, but do not arrange them in geometric patterns. Create a display that partially wraps around a doorway or a window. They will make a dramatic statement while adding color, personality and style.

Buy a Peel-and-Stick Quotation

Peel-and-stick wall decals come in all themes, sizes and styles, and some of the most impressive options include nothing more than a combination of well-chosen words. Shop online for your favorite quotes with peel-and-stick backings. Find one that you prefer, and apply it to a bare wall. Mark the wall with a chalk pencil and a level to achieve a neat and professional look. It will become the focal point of the space, especially if appropriate wall decor is placed around it. Depending upon the quote, letters could be dotted with glass or clay hearts. Paper or fabric butterflies could also be strategically placed around the quote. Come up with your own unique embellishments to add real personality to your favorite peel-and-stick wall quotes. They will be eye-catching, creative and unique.

Create a Staircase of Quotes

Do you have a wooden staircase that could use a major facelift? After priming and coating the risers and steps with paint that can withstand lots of foot traffic, apply favorite peel-and-stick quotes to the risers. If necessary, cut sections of words apart to make them fit. Trim them to accentuate specific parts of the phrases to create the greatest impact. Anyone standing back from the stairs or climbing them step by step will see your message. It is a fantastic method of self-expression that anyone with steps can accomplish.

Source: Professional Home Decorating and Advanced Crafting Experience

What to do When Item Is Not Received on EBay

Buying on eBay can be risky. You spend time looking for a bargain, then setting up an account to buy, only to find out that your order hasn’t been fulfilled. Thankfully, eBay makes it really easy to handle these situations and allow you to continue to shop on the site with confidence. Here are a few tips for resolving and preventing an issue when you don’t get your order.

1. Contact eBay first. While it’s okay to communicate with the seller about your lost item, many times they will give you a run around just to keep you on side. Most buyers do not know that they can open a case with eBay to find their missing item. Sellers take advantage of this and continue to communicate with you knowing you may not do anything if they keep telling you the item is on its way. I purchased and item, communicating with my seller almost 10 days after I purchased. My seller kept promising the item would be shipped, it wasn’t until I filed a claim and contacted eBay that my seller provided me with tracking information and updated my shipping to Priority Mail. Let the seller know you are serious about receiving your item.

2. File a dispute. eBay has a Resolution Center where you can file claims for missing items. It doesn’t matter if the seller says he has shipped, will ship or has shipped. eBay will force the seller to provide proof of the shipped item. If the seller can not, eBay can automatically refund the order. In most cases, it’s important to let eBay handle this because they can make the decision to refund, even if the seller doesn’t want to.

3. Get tracking ahead of time. Some buyers make sure that they will receive tracking on their orders before purchasing. Tracking is so important because it lets you know how long your item will take to arrive. It also gives you the peace of mind knowing that your seller has fulfilled your order. Sadly, without a tracking number, a seller can claim an item has been shipped and you really wouldn’t know.

4. Update your address before buying. As a seller, I’ve almost been out the door with a package when I received a message from a buyer needing to update their shipping address. It’s important that you make sure all addresses are updated before buying an item. It can be difficult to update once your item is purchased and, often, sellers don’t look at messages. In reality, a seller is under no obligation to ship to an alternative address, not on your account. This means that you can lose your money and your item.