Financial Skills – How to Budget & Balance Accounts

I was surprised when I asked parents to tell me the life skills they wish their kids knew, and there was a resounding request for a few topics:

How to open a bank account
How to budget & balance accounts
How to write checks and pay bills
And how to start saving for retirement

It seems some of the things we take for granted are, as a result, missing from what we teach kids.

In the last article, we focused on opening a bank account. This article is the second article in the four-part series and will look at how to teach kids to budget and balance their accounts.

Budgeting

It’s not shock that budgeting can be boring and tedious. I’ve personally never been excited to sit down and create my budgets, but it’s something that creates wealth and pays off down the road.

So how do you get kids excited about it? How can you add a little glamour to something so dull and boring? Easy – make it a game with payoffs.

Firstly, it’s important to know how to create a budget, then to adhere to the budget.

Creating a Budget

You may have your own way to create a budget, and that’s fine. In my experience, the easiest way to make a budget is as follows:

On a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle:

Spending BudgetCalculate your average monthly gross income and put that at the top of the page, then multiply it by.80 (for example, if you earned $1,000, you would end up with $800)
Fixed ExpensesWrite down all of your FIXED expense categories (i.e. phone bill, insurance, mortgage etc… ) and put them in one column on the left side of the page
Variable ExpensesNext write in the variable expense categories (i.e. food, gas, leisure, etc… ) and put them in another column on the right side of the page
Fill in all of your expenses
Net Budget after Fixed Expenses – Subtract fixed expenses from your spending budget If it’s a positive number, you don’t need to change anything If it’s zero or a negative number, you should look for expenses that you can cut or lower
Budget variable expenses – Using your Net Budget after fixed expenses, determine what you can spend on variable expenses without overspending each month
Set a budget for each variable expense so you know what you can spend on each category in a given month

Making it Fun

OK, now that you have a budget outline, it’s time to get the kids excited.

I know what you’re thinking: “My kids will never be excited for this.”

They will if you give them some prizes or payoffs. Here’s how:

First, tell them what a budget is and show them the paper. Next, tell them that you’re going to do a contest (if you have more than one kid, this works even better).

Contest 1: Anticipating Spending

The first contest is to see how close they can budget their money to reach a break-even or $0 over the course of a month. In other words, the goal is to predict your spending as close to the penny as possible.

If you have more than one kid person that gets the closest to break-even without going negative wins a prize. With just one kid, tell them that they get $5 or $10 if they reach break-even, and every penny they are off, you deduct 10ȼ

Contest 2 – Saving After Spending

The second contest is to see how well they can budget their money over the next 30 days. If they can save money, tell them you will give them whatever they save. That means if they save $5, you’ll give them another $5 (just like companies matching a person’s 401K contribution).

If you have more than one kid, tell them whoever is able to save the most will win and get a special prize. You will obviously choose the prize since you know your kids best.

Coming Soon

In the next article, we’ll discuss how to write checks and pay bills. You will also learn how to combine check-writing with these contests to simulate the real world of budgeting for your kids.

Astonishingly Designed Office Lobbies Around the World – No More Monday Blues

Mondays are usually the most irritating day of the week and almost each one of us has felt the dreadful feeling of Mondays. Even while relaxing on Sundays we all have that feeling of sadness of returning to work the next day. This feeling is quite common on every Sunday evening but what if offices becomes so inviting and interesting that working in the office will not make you feel suffocating or choking anymore. However, the most amazing factor which displays the status and power of any company is its lobby and lobby is one such thing which woos visitors. Below is the list of some offices around the world which have the coolest lobbies.

Salesforce, San Francisco
Salesforce in San Francisco is treated with 106 ft beautiful waterfall which is one of the most fascinating thing for the employees. Employees of this office are treated with gushing waterfalls, verdant lush forests, glittering skyscrapers or stars owing to the 106 feet long 4 mm LED screens which covers the lobby. The whole lobby is covered with giant continuous screens which happen to be the longest 4 mm screens in the whole country. This office has one of the coolest office lobby in the world.

Box, Los Altos, California
Box is a small storage startup in California which houses apt interiors for their playful and young employees. As we all know that bright vibrant colors and quirky lights can anytime make the mood good and same it with Box. Moreover, there is also a yellow slide which keeps the employees entertained and relaxed and that’s what makes this office lobby one of the best in the world.

Corus Quay, Toronto
This entertainment office has a desirable place near Toronto’s glinting waterfront. Lobby of Corus Quay allows plenty of natural light to come in and also offers the main attraction which is the amazing slide which can turn a gloomy day into a happy day.

Open, Tel Aviv
The space where this ad firm “Open” is started was initially a hangar and then later it turned into a funky work-cum-play space. This company has an amazing and electric mix of furniture, colors and chalkboard and this working place is a complete fun place.

Saatchi & Saatchi, Bangkok
It is an ad agency which requires a creative crew and their amazing office interior is creative too. The lobby of this office has a creative lobby with beautiful lights & also movable counter which can also work as a bar. Wondering to join this office?:P

Yelp, San Francisco
Yelp is worldwide known for owning some of the outstanding and creative looking offices and same is with its San Francisco branch. The lobby of Yelp San Francisco is really attractive and can leave any visitor impressed. Comfortable armchairs, vibrant color candies and bare brick wall make the ambience even more pleasing.

Scopely, Culver City
Scopely is a mobile entertainment network and this office is designed in a manner that it catches the attention of the people. The lobby in Scopely has minimalistic furniture, and the entire walls are covered with eccentric paintings.

What Type of Property Should You Start Out Flipping?

Now, you’ve heard me say it before, and I’m going to say it again, money makes money. I don’t want you to forget that. I want you to prove to yourself that you can work hard, stay frugal, and save $50-$100,000. For all of you guys and girls who have saved $50-$100,000, you’re probably wondering what to do next.

Where would it be advisable for you to contribute this cash?

You’re taking a gander at a wide range of properties and there’s a ton of masters out there pitching their own jibber chatter. You’re dousing up a ton of data, you’re doing your examination, you’re viewing the recordings, and you’ve most likely burned through six to a year (if not longer) on the sidelines considering what you ought to do and how you ought to do it. Yet, learn to expect the unexpected. You folks need to make a move. I require you to make a speculation. I require you to accomplish something at this moment.

Sitting on the sidelines will just give you an establishment to take in the essentials of how to do certain things; it will never give you educational experience. Careful discipline brings about promising results. In the event that you contribute, regardless of the possibility that you wind up losing cash, you will gain quite a lot more from losing it than spending another six to a year or longer perusing on the web gatherings, watching recordings, and going to courses.

Presently, what sort of arrangement would it be a good idea for you to do?

I have no cracking intimation. This is my conviction: when you’re beginning your land tries, minimal measure of cash you can contribute will break even with minimal measure of hazard. In this way, if that implies purchasing a D-class property in a harsh zone for a couple stupendous, so be it. I’m a major adherent to making a move, putting your cash where your mouth is, and gaining from the experience whether it’s great or terrible. Gain from the experience. Comprehend where you turned out badly. On the off chance that you turned out badly, ensure you don’t rehash those same slip-ups. Take what you realized, recreate it, and go into another arrangement. Simply don’t commit similar errors.

How about we simply say, speculatively, you’re taking a gander at getting one of these very economical properties. Have the mentality that you will light a match and that cash will go poof, however that will be your learning knowledge. I’m glad to state that I lost over a large portion of a million dollars when I began my excursion as a land speculator. I call it my Harvard level of land. The lessons that I gained from those misfortunes have empowered me to be the land financial specialist that I am today. They’ve Empowered me to be the business person that I am today.

I am presently running two organizations that are doing a great many dollars in income. So when you lose on that D-class property, getting your feet wet and beginning your trip in land, those misfortunes, and the lessons from those misfortunes, will shield you from rehashing botches when there are more chips on the table. Consider it that way.

Conclusion

What kind of class property you should take a gander at flipping? I for one figure you should perceive what you’re alright with. Take a gander at how much cash you have spared. Perceive how certain you feel in your capacity, and the capacity of your encompassing group of systems and after that, I say contribute minimal measure of cash. Why? Since that will liken to minimal measure of hazard. I trust that bodes well. I trust you delighted in this article and don’t hesitate to leave any inquiries underneath.

6 Dresses Every Women Must Own

Out of every other piece of clothing meant for women, dresses are certainly the easiest option to choose and the most versatile. You never have to match them with a pair of bottom-wear. All you need is a dress that suits the occasion, complementing shoes and bag, and you are good to walk into the world. Moreover, you can accessorize the same dress with a jacket and a change of shoes & bag for an entirely different occasion.

Isn’t it just what you need!

To make your wardrobe friendlier and trendy, here are a few types of a dress for women that must be in every wardrobe.

The A-line maxi dress: Finding a flattering fit with a dress can be difficult at times, which makes the maxi dress in A-line a preferred choice. It flares out at the waist, allowing for a more comfortable silhouette to move in. Because of its length, it is ideal for semi-formal events.

The fit and flare dress: Perfect for those who are blessed in the hip area, the fit and flare dress accentuates the waist and then flares out beautifully. Depending on the fabric and the neckline, this dress can we worn on any occasion be it a wedding, formal meeting, dates, and more.

The little black dress: Slimming and the easiest one to accessorize, nothing can go wrong when you are wearing a black dress that ends anywhere between the thigh and knee. Wear it with flats or heels, use a bold lipstick, complement it with a jacket in popping color, there’s always a lot of scope and always a chance to go minimalist with the little black dress.

The pencil dress: The best way to give your body a proper structure with sleek lines is with a pencil dress. Often recalled as the boardroom dress, nothing grants a business look better than a pencil dress with contrasting jacket and high heels.

The shirt dress: Polished yet casual, the shirt dress gives you a chance to be both comfortable and pulled together at the same time. It is breezy with a structured silhouette, making it ideal for every body type. To up the game, you can wear it with a belt. You can wear it to the office and for the casual setting alike.

The tank dress: The tank dress is what summers and monsoon are all about. It is airy and allows you to have an easy movement without constrictions. Wear it with wedges for summer parties and with sandals for casual day-to-day chores.

Live Long: What Water Is The Best?

There are many opinions in this respect. But all depends on the purpose of fasting. If the fasting is very much serious, if, for example, it is required to cure or ease a dangerous illness considerably and quickly, then certainly the most suitable water for such fasting would be distilled water. If the fasting’s task is just a little cleaning before a long juice-diet, the best water usually is well-filtered water. But in our case of a short-term fasting the proper training for the first attempts is to accustom the organism to this kind of therapeutic fasting. Therefore, the easier goes the first day the better.

And the simplest fasting is the water one, a fast with carbonated water. Initially the water should have neither minerals nor salts virtually. Read its label, there should be the content listed. If you are not sure, better to ask a seller or an assistant in the supermarket. Choose the most pure and most low mineral water of what you are able to obtain. Remember: there in that water should be nothing except carbonic gas and a very little addition (as minimum as possible) of minerals. It is your ideal water.

It does not need to be cooled, the room temperature suits the fasting best of all. Buy some bottles. You will need about one gallon in total, though better to buy it in smaller bottles because it will help you to have at least one bottle always with you. Please drink this water every time you feel thirst. And drink it even more if suddenly comes the appetite.

Even if you drink too much it is not dangerous. The main thing is: this day you should press down and quench both the thirst and the appetite. Fill in your body with water. Though there is no need of being addicted to water drinking too much. You can drink safely up to 12 pints of water that day. Or more. Or less. No restrictions.

WHY THE CARBONATED WATER IS BETTER

There is a rather little though important reason for that. The first advantage is that carbonated water has a weak acid reaction. Not to go into details, we can say that the weak carbonic acid in that water will never allow your organism to store up any salts neither in joints nor in blood vessels. It is very good for you. The second reason is the low salt concentration which was there in the water initially. During the carbonation process at the factory some salts drop down as a deposit and do not get into bottles.

As a rule, the carbonated water has a much lower percentage of salts than pure non-carbonated water. And again, it is very good. The third reason is taste. As a whole the carbonated water is a little bit tastier and gives a more fresh feeling than not carbonated waters. On fasting it is always a pleasure to feel a taste; it may calm the appetite down. And at last the fourth reason, the very important one, especially during the first days of fasting: drinking the carbonated water you will feel hundreds of microscopic bulbs of carbonic gas in your mouth; this usually simulates a food or something like food, thereby deceiving your digestion desires. In other words, with the carbonated water it will be easier to suppress the appetite, and refraining from meal will be slightly less problematic too.

PREJUDICES AGAINST CARBONATED WATER

Some people spread rumors and ridiculous prejudices against carbonated water. The especially baseless one is that the carbonic gas is harmful. To understand all the false ground and ignorance of such statement one should simply recollect an axiom.

Each person inhales 33 pounds of air a day in average, and sure, that person exhales exactly as much. In the exhaled air there is 4% of carbonic gas. Please let us count and see: within a day a person exhales some about 20 ounces of pure carbonic gas. It is absolutely normal, it is that same carbonic gas which is formed in each person as a result of ordinary breath.

But a two-pint big bottle of carbonated water contains just as much as 0.2oz of carbonic gas. It turns out that a common person exhales as much carbonic gas a day as we can collect from 120 big two-pint bottles! But even having thirst on fasting that person will hardly drink more than 4 of such bottles. That is 30 (thirty!) times less than that same person exhales in his normal state during that same day. Whether that little quantity is able to damage the organism? Definitely not. Moreover that gas is a good thing, a natural stuff that each of us produces every minute every day.

Do You Have To Wait To Have Impact?

When it comes to having impact, making a difference in the world, you can be deceived into thinking that you have to wait.

Wait until…

Your business is big
Your revenue reaches $1 million
Some event happens when you suddenly have more wisdom, more time, or more permission to have impact.

Is that you? Have you been waiting?

Abraham Maslow, in his famous Hierarchy of Needs, theorized that people couldn’t begin to make contributions to society or even develop themselves as people until basic survival needs were met.

I see this viewpoint reflected in the way that old-style businesses have organized themselves. In the worldview of survival and competition, eat or be eaten, a lot of inward-looking businesses focus only on profit as the way to survive in the business world.

To me, that’s a very base level at which to be operating.

It’s true, you can’t have a sustainable business without profit. But I and many business leaders feel that a profit / survival focus isn’t the only way to have a business that lasts and makes money for its owners.

That’s not just a belief. It’s based on real results from real businesses.

When I started my first business 21 years ago, I didn’t begin just by learning the ropes in finance and marketing and setting up systems. Along with that and at the same time, I used a visioning guide. That book and the mentor I had at the time led me through a process of defining what was important to me in my business, what I valued, and how I wanted to have well-being and impact as well as abundance.

I wanted a business that made a real contribution in the lives of people every day.

I wanted a business that reflected my values: integrity, honesty, high quality, and working with people in a way that was collaborative and respectful.

I wanted a business where I’d have room to help and mentor other people. I did that even in my first consulting business, when I had interns work with me or my corporate clients stopped me in the hallways and asked me for advice and support to start their own businesses.

And I got one. Just 13 months after starting, I was into 6 figures. Equally important, the work I was doing had impact.

That all sounds pretty good, right? But having this impact focus sure didn’t make me perfect! I haven’t always met my own high standards for myself or my business, but having those standards in place changed how I did things. I didn’t take shortcuts that would have led to more profit if it conflicted with what I valued and that would have hurt other people. I refused to work on projects for companies in the tobacco industry, for example.

I had to laugh when I pulled out that visioning guide the other day, the one I used before I started my business. In some ways, I thought I’d changed so much. When I sold my house and most of my belongings 7 years ago and spent a year traveling while I kept my business going, I thought I’d undergone a complete transformation.

And in many ways I have – where and how I live and my actual business focus – but my business values remain, and continue into my coaching business today.

So, back to our friend Maslow. I think his 5-tier hierarchical system for human development was certainly useful in its time. But it doesn’t really capture the full complexity of human experience and potential.

You have so much to offer even when you’re in the early days of your business or in a transition in your established business. Your awareness of that informs your own growth and your business’ creation, transition, and growth.

So my answer to that question in the title: do you have to wait to have impact?

Not at all. You don’t have to wait. In fact, you shouldn’t wait.

Starting to get clear about the impact you want to have NOW, wherever you are in business, NOW is the best time wherever you are in your entrepreneur journey.

I see our growth as entrepreneurs as being not just a personal journey, although it certainly is that!

I see your business also as an exchange, a dialog between you and the larger world.

For example, as you put your offerings out into the world, you get feedback. Offered with love, the response to those offerings will tell you a great deal about your impact.

Are you having the impact you want to have? If not, you can change what you offer and how you offer it until you are much more in alignment with both your own desired impact and what people want.

So really, you always have an impact. You may just not always know what that impact is! And that’s why being conscious of the impact you want to have is so important.

A phrase I often use is, ‘Impact: it’s not just for social enterprises anymore’.

Making a contribution as a business isn’t limited to social enterprises. We often think about companies and organizations like non-profits that are focused on social change as being the ones that are concerned with their impact. There are many large and small businesses successfully operating in this way, having as their focus the impact that they want to have. Not just successfully, but even more than companies that only focus on profit.

Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines and Patagonia are some big companies you probably know. In a study done of large corporations that operate with principles that value every stakeholder, that recognize their impact on everyone that comes into contact with the company, from the owner to the team members, the suppliers, to the customers and shareholders.

Companies that focus on impact do 12-14 times better financially than companies that follow the traditional business model that focuses only on profit.

Many of those companies built a focus on connection and yes, even love, into their mandates.

They saw the pragmatic role of love in business.

They view business stakeholders not as competitors for a limited pool of value, but as active contributors to it. The pool is constantly replenished as businesses contribute, so we’re not in danger of running out. That scarcity mentality of business of trying to get your part of a limited pie just doesn’t apply.

It’s not just big companies that choose to operate this way.

The clients I work with, small business owners are uniquely in a position to build their companies as they choose, right from the start. We as entrepreneurs have the opportunity to build businesses with a strong sense of connectivity to our fellow beings and the Earth.

Through that dedication to a higher purpose, companies move through challenging times with more ease, the owners and their staff are more motivated, and often, employees want to contribute even more, to volunteer and make a difference outside of the company.

Through clarity about your Impact Purpose, you can have a substantial impact right away. Imagine the effect of a focus on impact on how you treat a supplier, or a contract employee, a VA (virtual assistant) or vendor. You already have impact on them, just by how you show up, by how you choose to treat them and handle your relationship. How you show up for every person in your business is a big part of your impact.

What’s key in all of this? Consciousness.

Being conscious about the impact you want to have means you can exercise it. When you’re conscious about the impact you want to have, you can make decisions in your business, and your life, that really reflect your desired impact. You can show up in your business every day with that in mind, and make a real difference, the difference you want to make.

So I hope this has you thinking. Your impact doesn’t have to wait.

You can have impact right now, in your work, in your startup, in your existing business.

You already have impact, just by how you show up. Do you want that impact to be just profit, or do you want to bring more love into the world?

You can. By making the impact you want to have conscious, your impact can only grow as you make decisions that allow you to put that desired impact into action.

I’ll leave you with a quote from the Impact Manifesto, which I wrote for the Work Alchemy community and anyone who wants to have more impact:

“I believe that impact is grounded in love – love for myself, for others and for the world in which I live.”

Passion and Business

Every business person will experience challenges. This is a default setting in life – Challenges will always come. But, what separates the businesses that rise and rise, from those that experience failure after failure?

(Caveat: This is not to say that there are businesses that never fail. ALL businesses fail at some point. Some, however, rise from ashes and shine through.)

Passion, then, is the key ingredient between throwing in the towel, or getting up to fight the next round. There is a refining moment where every business owner goes through intense heat. This heat can either polish you or finish you completely but it all depends on the level of passion in the business.

To always keep your goals ahead of you is tough when everything is bursting at the seams. This is why asking questions is a survival skill.

“Why am I doing this? What works? What doesn’t? What can I do better?”

These questions tackle the level of passion you are carrying for the business. Sometimes, answering these questions may make you revisit exactly how you ended up in that business. This in turn focuses on your motivators. They are the little coals that keep your passion alive. They make going through the grime seem worthwhile even though the outlook seems bleak. As long as you keep asking these questions, you automatically take your mind to your motivators. That’s why challenges really should never worry you, but dwindling passion should ring alarm bells!

So, when passion starts to dwindle, simply repeat the questions, “Why am I doing this? What works? What doesn’t work? What can I do better?”

Once you have your mind on your motivators, the dying passion will be revived once again.

Why am I doing this? It’s the path towards achieving goal X, Y, Z…

What works? So far, what have I achieved? Am I still on my way there?

What doesn’t work? What has derailed me on this course? Is what I’m doing still viable? If I change course, what will still take me to goal X, Y, Z…?

What can I do better? What hasn’t stalled but isn’t performing well either? How can I affect the rate of growth? Do I really need more money? Can I do it differently? Can I borrow a strategy? Who has done this and it’s working for them?

When stalling, don’t resign. Ask. What you fear will always paralyze you. Once you question its power, you have a fighting chance left. Always ask.

Why Is It Important To Hire A Licensed Contractor?

No matter what state a builder is from, it’s important for each builder to apply for and get a license. What is the purpose of these laws? The purpose is to protect property owners against dishonest or incompetent contractors. The important thing is that the licensing process is a proof of the basic competency and weed out dishonest contractors. If a contractor has a valid license, it’s a sign that the professional is qualified to get the job done to your satisfaction. If you want to know the importance of licensing, we suggest that you read through this article. Read on to know more.

Dispute resolution

One of the main benefits of a hiring the services of a licensed contractors is that the dispute resolution program of the state will help you resolve the disputes. The compensation will be granted from the funds of the state. If you want to get the most out of this program, you may want to check that the professional has a valid license for the services they are offering. Without a valid license, it’s not possible to benefit from a dispute resolution.

State Requirements

In each state, there is a licensing board that has specific requirements for the professional contractors. The requirements in one state may be different from the requirements in another state. Moreover, the type of license is also different based on the state.

Licenses for General Contractors

The requirement for license depends upon the aspect of a certain construction project. General contractor is the person who is responsible to deal with you i.e. the owner of the property. The professional will work with you, supervise the entire project, buys the required material and hires some subcontractors. The subcontractors will report to the general contractors and not you. Since the license doesn’t authorize any pro to do each and every job in the project, you should do your research and find out what someone can do in your state.

Other Licenses

In the majority of states, special licenses are granted in order to allow the professionals to do certain jobs. For this, each candidate has to prove that he or she is competent enough to do work in an area like plumbing, roofing, and electrical. Moreover, if a GC doesn’t have a special license to carry out a project, they may go for a subcontractor who is qualified enough to carry out the work.

Lastly, it’s important that you get to know about each aspect of your project. At the early stages, it’s a lot easier to fix mistakes. But if they are not fixed in time, it may become a lot harder and more expensive to fix them. Aside from this, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on each worker so that the project could be completed as soon as possible.

Summer Tips to Keep You Healthy

Dreaming about laying back on the sun lounger, sand between your toes and cocktail in hand. The sun’s rays feel good right? But they’re no friend to your skin.

Though you won’t see it right away, they give you wrinkles and age spots, and they’re the top cause of skin cancer!

Overexposure to UV rays from the sun or sunbeds is the number one cause of developing skin cancer. You need to make sure you are doing everything that you can to protect yourselves so that you can enjoy your time in the sun. With the approach of Sun Awareness Week, we thought it would be the perfect time to share with you some of our top tips for staying safe in the sun this summer.

1. Seek shade

From 11am to 3pm the sun is at its strongest. During this period it is recommended for you to stay out of the sun as you are more at risk of burning or developing heatstroke. If you are having lunch in your garden or at the sea-side you may seek shade under a parasol to have maximum protection.

2. Stay hydrated

Spending too much time in the sun without drinking water will get you chronically dehydrated. It is recommended to reduce the consumption of caffeinated drinks or alcoholic beverages during hot days, as this will tend to make you even more dehydrated. You should drink at least eight glasses of water every day and even more on hot days to stay hydrated. Dehydrated skin is more prone to sun damage, so drink plenty of water!

3. Wear sunscreen

When you are exposed to the sun, always make sure that you are wearing a sunscreen that is right for you. It is important to know which sunscreen is suitable for you skin type and blocks both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation. Before applying your sunscreen, always check its expiry date. It should usually last for about 12 months from opening, moreover you can also check the label on the product. Always apply liberally and remember to reapply after swimming even if it says it is a water resistant sunscreen. Remember also that UV rays bounce off sand, snow, concrete, and water.

4. Clothing

Cover up with a hat that shades your face, neck and ears and a good pair of sunglasses. When deciding about which fabric to wear in summer choose cotton to absorb excess sweating or close-weave fabrics which give the best protection. Skin that’s not usually in the sun is most likely to burn. So take extra care with your back, shoulders and tummy.

5. Self-tan

Instead of exposing yourself to potentially harmful UV rays, use a self-tan to achieve that healthy brown glow you’re desiring.

Now that the countdown is on to summer and you will be spending more time outdoors start practising these sun safe tips, in order to guarantee an enjoyable holiday and summer in the sun!

How to Protect Your Home From Winter

The winter season is upon us. Just as we change our lifestyles and routines to fit with the seasons, we must also adapt our homes to the changes. While we’re getting ready to cozy up indoors and bring out the heavy-duty winter woollies, we need to make sure our home is ready to bear the coming onslaught of snow, dirt, slush, and salt.

The winter season brings with it challenges that aren’t purely seasonal in nature; the holiday season comes with a heavy increase in foot traffic around the house as people spend a lot of time indoors. This double effect can combine to do some real damage to your beautiful hardwood floors if you aren’t prepared. Let’s take a quick look at how the changing season can harm your flooring and how you can prevent this from happening.

Common Winter Elemental Damages

Gap formation: The air that your air-conditioning systems will be circulating throughout your home in the winter season is much drier than the type of air that circulates during the summer months. The effect this has on wood is that it causes it to slightly lose its moisture content, leading to the creation of small gaps where planks meet. You shouldn’t worry too much about this, as it’s to be expected. Once temperatures warm up, they will absorb a bit of moisture and return to normal.

Scratches and scrapes: Mud, salt, dead leaves, dirt, and snow can all combine to create unsightly scratches and scrapes on your floors once they are unintentionally brought into the house on the bottoms of boots and shoes.

Rot: If left to lie untouched for long enough, some of these winter elements can make their way into your flooring, causing the wood to rot. This is to be avoided at all costs, as serious cases might make it necessary to seek professional services to repair.
What Can I Do to Avoid Them?

Maintain temperatures: What leads to the creation of gaps in your flooring is the changing temperature levels and humidity. A good way to counteract this effect is to maintain your thermostat settings at a constant even temperature, avoiding turning your heat up and down.

Clean up: Regularly sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming your floors prevents the build-up of sludge and leftover snow that might eventually lead to rot.

Take the shoes off: Simply taking off shoes and boots before coming indoors will go a long way in avoiding most of the winter-borne floor difficulties. Before they come indoors, have your family and friends take note!

Cover up: Rugs, carpets, and floor-mats are a great way to protect your floors, especially in high-traffic areas which experience the most stress. Unwanted elements simply won’t have the chance to get at your floors.

Know what you’re dealing with: Gaining a good understanding of exactly what type of floor you’re trying to protect will make your job a whole lot easier. Having information about your hardwood floor areas such as how old they are, how much money you have invested in them over time, etc. will help you determine just how much time, effort, and money would be reasonably used up in protecting them.