How To Find Cheap Flights

Anyone planning a vacation knows how important finding a cheap flight is.  Many people scour through dozens of airline websites, aggregators, and booking sites in search for a cheap air ticket to their vacation destination. While there’s no shortcut to finding a cheap flight, there certainly are ways that one can use to find cheap flights easily. This however means doing some extensive research, altering your vacation dates, and waiting for just the right time for a deal. Outlined below are some of the simple ways to find cheaper flights.

1. Book Air Tickets Early In Advance

This is particularly important for people traveling during the peak season. Waiting until the last minute to book a flight can cost you lots of money. Booking a ticket 3 weeks or even 5 months to your travel date can save you some good money. While air ticket prices spike two weeks to peak season, booking the same tickets early can save you the trouble. You can even save more if planning for an overseas vacation with your family or friends.  While booking early can save you some bucks, buying late could land you an even sweeter deal.

2. Buy Late

Although this isn’t advisable, some airlines lower ticket prices especially if there are more seats to fill. Although this may be too much a risk for some people, buying tickets late can be rewarding at times. You however need some huge lungs and unfathomable patience to try your luck with these. As an added tip, plan for a vacation to different destinations, and buy the next available ticket that comes up. While it may be intriguing, you can have the best time of your life with such random vacation trips.

3. Window-Shop

Unless you are on a tight deadline, never book the first ticket you come across. Shopping around and comparing airfares can help you find quite an affordable flight to your destination. Some of the best sites to compare ticket prices include TripAdvisor, Travelocity, and Kayak. You could also check out Airfarewatchdog for exciting low fares to various destinations around the globe. The best thing with using these travel advisory sites is that they provide detailed information about the flight, restrictions, and anything else you might want to know about the destination.

With this information at hand, log on to the airline websites to look for promotional tickets sales or any other offers available. Some airlines offer a discount for tickets purchased via their website, hence a great incentive too. If the prices are too high for your liking, you can then cross your fingers and wait for last minute announcements and offers. Many airlines will offer tickets at reduced prices just to fill their plane. 

4. Know Just The Right Time To Buy

Tracking fares and knowing just when to buy a ticket is considerably the hardest part of booking a cheap flight.  Using technology to your advantage to track these tickets can however help you know just when to hit the buy button. Sites such as offer such services and even provide a prediction on what to expect from fare charts for most cities and tourist destinations. Just enter your preferences, and then let the site help you decide. Using to find cheap flights is intriguing in that, you can see how an individual destination is in demand. You can also use the Hopper app to track fare drop/rises as well.

Tip: most airlines launch fare sales every Tuesday. Watch out for these sales to see if there is a decline in ticket price.

5. Stretch Your Options (Be Flexible)

Do not depend on just one airline or airport for air travel. Stretching your limits by putting all airlines on your bucket list can help you find a cheap flight. If you have access to more than one airports, then the possibilities of getting a more affordable ticket are high. If this changes nothing, then consider shifting travel dates to the most promising ones. Changing travel dates by a day, a week, or a month can have a significant impact on the amount you will spend for tickets. You also need to watch out for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays for promotions and offers.  Avoiding peak seasons’ altogether is another excellent way to save on tickets.

6. Luggage

If you just bring carry on luggage you’re going to cut down on fees significantly and it can also mean that you will end up in a far better positon when you come off the plane. There are plenty of light and roomy luggage options nowadays, check out these from Luggage City. Pack carefully and you can benefit from this and save – here are some tips.

7. Redeem Flier Miles

If your job entails flying a lot, you can then take advantage of your flier miles. You can redeem your flier miles to whatever destination you choose. This offer however comes in handy if booking early. You however could be limited to just one airline to redeem miles. The best thing about booking early is that the staff can find you a flight where you are eligible. You only need to be available for that flight. If you have not started building up miles yet, you can use your credit card to start. Be sure to check if your provider offers this service.

8. Ask For A Refund (If Prices Go Down)

Should prices go down moments after you purchased your ticket, you can then request a refund. While some airlines may not offer refunds, the policies vary from one airline to the other. It wouldn’t hurt to ask if they do offer refunds during such instances. Some sites such as offer a price guarantee, whereby you can ask for a refund should you find a cheaper flight on another website.

9. Use An Air Pass

Some national airlines may offer an air pass to promote tourism back home. An air pass gives you access to tickets at reduced rates (specially designed for tourists).  If you have been planning a vacation in any of these countries, you can then ask for an air pass for reduced fare rates.  You also stand a better chance of obtaining such if traveling as a group, or a family.

10. Look Out For Deals And Discounts

If you travel a lot or are planning to travel in the next few months, you can then take advantage of ticket sales on airline websites. Some airlines will offer discounts to customers who buy tickets using their online portal, while others will require you to make advance booking to get a discount.

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Deciding Between A Wood-Burning Or Electric Fireplace For Your Home

Putting in a fireplace can be a great way to make your home more comfortable and attractive. There are a lot of different choices on the market. Some fireplaces are designed to burn wood whereas others run on electricity. It is important to carefully compare the two to decide which is the right choice for your home.

Wood-burning fireplaces have been a popular choice for nearly as long as people have lived indoors. There is something quite rustic and inviting about the experience of starting a fire indoors. From the smell that the burning wood creates to the soft crackling sounds of the fire, wood-burning fireplaces are great for creating a warm, inviting space on a cold winter evening. Typically, these fireplaces are made using fire-resistant stone or brick. They usually have to be installed by a masonry expert to ensure that they are safe and up to code.

The Advantages Of Fireplaces That Burn Wood

One of the best parts about wood-burning fireplaces is the atmosphere that they can help create in your home. To ensure that your family stays safe, your fireplace needs to be up to code. Additionally, you and anyone else who plans on building a fire in the fireplace will need to learn how to properly build a fire and how to prevent accidents from occurring. This includes maintaining your fireplace to prevent any problems further down the road.

Adding a wood-burning fireplace to your home can actually help increase its resale value. Home buyers tend to love fireplaces. As a result, they are often willing to spend more money on homes that already have fireplaces in place.

The Disadvantages Of Fireplaces That Burn Wood

Wood-burning fireplaces can be quite expensive to install. This is because you not only need to install the fireplace itself but also a chimney to direct the smoke out of your home. All of this needs to be done by a skilled contractor so that it is up to code. Between the cost of supplies and labor, this can be an extremely expensive project. Remember, even after the fireplace itself is installed, you will still need to build a hearth, add a mantle, and fire-proof the floor around the fireplace, all of which can add to the overall expense.

Fireplaces that burn wood are also surprisingly inefficient. Although it seems like they would be a fast way to heat up a home, most of the heat goes up the chimney rather than being directed back into the house. Fireplace inserts can help counteract this problem, allowing more of the heat from the fire to stay inside your home.

Fireplaces That Run On Electricity

Electric fireplaces are a good choice for people who don’t already have a chimney in place and don’t want to go through the hassle and expense of installing one. These fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people discover just how simple and affordable they are to install.

The Advantages Of Electric Fireplaces

Installing an electric fireplace is incredibly easy when compared to installing a wood fireplace. Because they don’t require a chimney, they can be used in any home – even if you don’t own the property yourself.

While installing a wood-burning fireplace can cost thousands of dollars, you can usually get an electric fireplace for several hundred dollars or less.

These fireplaces don’t require wood, which can help you save even more money if you usually buy wood for burning. Although you won’t get to enjoy the smell of the burning wood or the crackle and pop of the fire, you can keep more money in your pocket by avoiding the need for wood.

Finally, using an electric fireplace is far easier than using a wood-burning fireplace. Flipping on a switch is the only step that is required to start the electric fireplace. Amantti Fireplaces found here are fantastic in this regard. 

The Disadvantages Of Electric Fireplaces

Although electric fireplaces are designed to simulate real fires, they are unable to completely capture the sounds and smells of a roaring fire. They look beautiful but may not provide quite the same level of ambiance.

Because these fireplaces run on electricity, they can wind up increasing your monthly power bill. You should look for an energy-efficient unit that will minimize these additional costs.

Remember, electric fireplaces can only be used indoors since they cannot be exposed to moisture. This is in contrast to wood-burning fireplaces that can be used indoors or out.

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How To Save Money When Building A New Home

Many people are looking for ways to save money when building a new home. Currently, the country’s economy is very fragile. Banks and other financial institutions are timid when handing out loans for home construction. Previously, loans were handed out left and right. However, the larger the loans, the bigger the homes built. Due to the large cost of funding the construction of a new home, banks and financial institutions have become reluctant when handing out loans.

The Evolution Of Customers

Now, customers have evolved to become smart, savvy and environment friendly. Therefore, they are creating green, smaller and very affordable homes with the financing available to them. If you’re planning on building a new home, there are many ways to reduce the cost considerably. With such notions, banks and financial institutions are more likely to fund your project.

Fortunately, since manufacturers are competing for consumers, the prices for flooring, shingles, drywall and other construction project have reduced as well. Here are some amazing ways of reducing the cost of building your dream house and saving a lot of money from any construction project.

1. Land

When building your home, buying the right piece of land can save enough money for you. Before making any purchases, you need to research and find out if you can build on it without any extra expenses such as blasting rock or clearing. Building on a mountain side or raw land might be magnificent but the cost of clearing rocks, trees or leveling the land will increase the overall cost of the entire project.

On the other hand, you might not have access to proper sewage lines, drinking water and other amenities. Adding these amenities will increase the cost of your project dramatically. As more areas become developed, it’s tough to find a suitable piece of land to build on. That’s why working with a credible realtor is always advisable.

2. Type Of House

You can also save some money on a construction project by choosing the right type of house. For instance, building a ranch is very expensive than building a two-story house. If you plan on building a ranch on 3,000 sq. ft. you need a roof and foundation that will be twice the area, if building a two story house. The living space of a two story house about 3000 sq. ft is spread on 2 floors. Therefore, there is a smaller roof and foundation. The ranch, on the other hand, will require the roof and foundation to cover the entire space.

If you save on the roof and foundation, you can reduce the overall cost of building your home thus saving a lot of money. Another advantage of a two story home over a ranch is that it can fit effortlessly in a smaller or a sloped lot. You can also save a lot of money with a rectangular house with standard windows and simple rooflines rather than one with intricate details. If you choose a two story house, you can save around $10000 – $20000 without compromising on the living space.

3. The Size Of The House

The size of your house can make a huge difference in the overall cost of your project. Every square footage added to your home will cost some money. The size of the house affects the entire project, starting from the foundation up to the roof as well as painting. You need to find a floor plan with enough space, amenities and allows you to make any modifications at very little or no extra cost.

Many people advocate that being your own general contractor allows you to save a lot of money on any projects. However, such an endeavor is advisable for people with extensive knowledge about constructing a new home. If you have successfully handled your own construction project previously, you can proceed with the same skills on your current project and save as much as 10% effortlessly.

4. Recycling, Reusing, Reclaiming And Clearance

If you want to save money on any construction project, you need to find ways to be green. For instance, you can start by reusing reclaimed parts from demolition projects or throwaways from other individuals. Additionally, it’s a great way to improve the aesthetic value of your home. By recycling these construction materials, you can save a lot of money because you can get the materials at a much reduced price or free.

You can purchase appliances or flooring materials are reduced prices when you’re planning your construction project. Look for clearances, sales, returns, reconditioned or discontinued products to make sure you’re getting the best discount. If you look at numerous retailers, you will find so many with discontinued flooring materials that are going for a very cheap price compared to the brand new products.

5. Bartering

There are people who provide handyman skills to receive certain items. It’s also another way to save a lot of money when you’re building a new project. If you’re handy, you can ask the foreman to allow you to do a few projects to reduce the overall cost of construction. You can always ask for the handyman barter special where you can do the landscaping part of the project, painting or construction clean-up and reduce the overall cost of construction. Additionally, you can talk to manufacturers and retailers of construction materials to find a way to reduce your construction costs considerably. A quantity surveryor or someone in that profession could also help – see this post from PSR solutions to see how.

6. Going Green

Saving money on the construction of your new home goes beyond the construction process. Once your dream house has been constructed, there are many more expenses that you should expect. Therefore, you need to consider a few energy efficient ways to construct your home. For instance, try orienting your house with a roof slope facing to the south or large windows facing in the same direction.

These are some useful tips to keep your house warm at all times thus reducing your heating costs. Additionally, with a roof facing to the south, you can always install solar panels. Here, you can save money on heating costs and also get some tax savings because of using solar power. Additionally, you can save a lot of money with energy efficient windows and doors. Currently, most of the household appliances such as HVAC systems, water heaters and much more have also been manufactured with energy efficient features. By installing these appliances in your new home, you can count on more savings in the future.

In conclusion

Constructing a new home is a good investment that will save a lot of money from rent or lease. However, if you don’t want to waste more money on expenses, you need to find ways to save money when constructing your home in the first place. The tips outlined above allow you to construct your home in the most cost-effective way possible. Look through our website for more information on how you can save a lot of money when building your dream home.

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How To Garden On A Budget

Many people find that gardening can be a lot of work, but you should never have to spend a lot of money on it.  There are a number of tips that you can use which will help you reach your goal of inexpensive gardening.

Make Friends With People Who Garden

Having friends who garden can be a major help when it comes to your budget.  If you do not have space in your home for a full garden, you could share space with your friends.  When you do this, you will need to take turns with attending to the garden. 

If each of you has your own garden, you should look at having a plant or seed exchange.  You can invite all of your gardening friends and ask them to bring samples from their gardens which can be traded.  This will allow you to increase the variety of your garden without having to buy new plants or seeds.  You should also consider pooling your money with your friends to buy seeds in bulk as this is a cheaper option for everyone.

Take The Time To Plan

If you want to garden on a budget, you need to be prepared.  Before you buy any plants, you need to make a list of the plants that you want for the season.  The list should only include plants that you will still want to tend to in a few months.  If you are thinking of growing vegetables, but someone in your family does not like peppers, there is no point in buying 5 pepper plants. 

In these cases, you should look at spending your money on plants that will be used.  Consider the fruit and vegetables that your family will use and only include these.  You should also carefully map out your garden before you buy plants to limit the guesswork when you shop.

Think About Compost

Purchasing fertilizer every year is expensive and composting is the best alternative for this.  You can easily compost your garden leftovers as well as any scraps from your kitchen fruit and vegetable use.  Used coffee grounds are also great for composting as they add nutrients. 

Other items that you can include in your compost are dead leaves and grass clippings.  Compost is a cheap way to provide nutrients to your plants and it is very easy to complete.  There are many guides that will help you get started when it comes to composting. 

It Is All About The Seeds

Seeds will cost a lot less than plants or seedlings and with some tending will be just as fruitful.  It is recommended that you start the seeds off in a planting contain such as an egg carton or old butter tub.  You can then transfer the seedlings to the ground when they are ready.  Each plant will be ready at different stages, so you need to look into this before you transfer them.

Buy Plants From Outside The Nursery

Local plant sales are a great place to find plants at a lower cost.  The local newspaper is a great place to start looking for these sales.  You can also look at online classified listings for plant sales.  Avoiding the nursery is a great way to lower the overall costs of your gardening.

Water features

Water features look great in the garden and can also be a great addition to the garden too as they bring wild life and other nature around. If you have the space then check out these water features for the gardening area.

You Don’t Need Fancy Gardening Tools

Unless you are going to garden full time, you will not need the expensive all-purpose gardening toolkit. There are certain simple tools that you need which are easy to get on a budget. You will need a shovel, hoe, garden sheers and spading fork.

Go Organic

Skipping the chemicals can save you money and result in organic plants.  Chemical fertilizers can keep bugs and weeds away, but they will also enter the eco-system and your family’s stomachs.  Keeping your garden organic can save you money and give you some peace of mind.

Ethanol Fireplace Advantages

Ethanol Fireplaces are modernized fireplaces that have grown in popularity over the last few years. This popularity is the clear result associated with 3 advantages. If you are thinking about investing in one of these fireplaces here is some information for you to consider.

When consulting with customers in regards to their purchase of an ethanol fireplace, 3 distinctive advantages are apparent:

• The fireplace is flueless and does not produce smoke, ashes or soot

• They produce real flames along with the right amount of warmth

• They are simple to install as well as use

The Flueless Fireplace

One of the more important reasons that our clients choose the ethanol fireplace is due to the fact that it does not require a flue. In today’s modern homes it is often not a possibility to establish chimneys. In most cases such an installation is too expensive and complicated. For this reason customers have to find an alternative, which is possible with ethanol fireplaces.

Bioethanol fireplace are ventless as the fuel is bioethanol and when it burns no ashes, soot or smoke is produced. Flames are also clean which means you can light the fireplace without the requirement of a vent. In comparison to the wood-burning stoves, there are no particles that are often dangerous that will be emitted and the emissions are made up of heat, water and a minimal amount of Carbon Dioxide.

Authentic Flames With Great Heat

Looking for alternatives to gas fireplaces or wood-burning stoves usually involves electric fireplaces as the available choice. However, these do not offer authentic or real flames. Luckily, the ethanol fireplaces provide the ideal replacement.

Many customers are usually surprised when they find out that the ethanol fireplace produces real flames. These flames are extremely vibrant and move very slowly while they burn. This fireplace is also able to produce an adequate amounts of heat. Typically the ethanol fireplace is able to produce about 2-3 kW, which is equal to a radiator operating fully.

It is also good to know that the fireplace experiences no heat-loss as there is no flue, this means all of the heat will be distributed evenly into a room.

These fireplaces are extremely simple to install as well as easy to use. If you invest in one of the freestanding models, you won’t have to worry about installation. In addition, the wall-mounted units only need a bracket which is similar to the types used for flat screen TVs. The more complicated models would be the built-in fireplaces, but are still much easier to set-up and install compared to gas or wood fireplaces.

Over and above the easy installation, and the ease-of-use, they are easy to ignite by just filling up the bioethanol inside the burner and then lighting this fuel with matches of a lighter. You can easily turn off the fireplace by closing the lid and the rest of the bioethanol will remained stored until you use it again.

What Are Smart Meters and Can they Save you Money?

Many utilities today are replacing the older analog meters with newer digital smart readers. Instead of having to read the meters once a month, the new smart readers will transmit the information regarding the energy used by a customer in real-time. Because of this, the smart meters will be able to tell both how much energy the customers are using, but also when they are using it and what it is being used for. When you have such detailed information, the smart meters can actually empower the consumers to become more energy efficient and lower their costs.

Despite the potential benefits, not everyone loves smart meters. The critics have been raising objections as to the privacy issues and whether or not the savings promised are as good as they claim to be. Here is a good blog from nPower and below you will find some information regarding this debate that could help you to decide whether having a smart meter will actually be worth it:

Smart Meter Benefits

These meters are able to provide insights that will be helpful to individual customers by allowing them to save energy, but they will also help with managing the energy supply in an efficient manner. The detailed, real-time information the smart meter provides could transform the manner in which energy is consumed. Benefits of a smart meter include:

– Better distribution in peak power demand times, thus cutting back on power outages and brownouts

– Monitoring for more efficient energy resource use

– Cuts back on the need for additional facilities producing power

– Offers customized information regarding energy use

– Creates dynamic pricing, where there used to be pricing based upon demand

Smart Meter Disadvantages

As with many transitions in technology, there are some bumps in the road. Some people have complained that the smart meters are:

– Pricier, and you could see increased charges on your bills

– Could be dangerous, as some have caused fires

– You have the feeling that big brother is watching, as the meter can see both how you are using the energy as well as what times

– Lack of accuracy, leading to higher bills

The bottom line is that there are pros and cons either way. The upside is that the smart meters can help households to use energy more wisely and assist with conservation of energy while better managing and distributing power. On the flip side, the disadvantage remains that this is new technology that can come with risks and that the meters may not be completely accurate, while also posing both safety and privacy risks.

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