Can you ever make your home run smoothly?
The cost of living is rising all the time. Many people are finding it difficult to keep up, especially if they’re young. Running a home can feel like a full-time job, especially if you’ve got young children.
The most pressing concern, of course, is paying your bills on time. If you have quarterly bills for services such as gas and electricity, these can seem huge when they arrive without warning. The thing is though, they’re not unexpected, and the best thing is to put aside a bit of money to pay for them every week so that you can be prepared.Organising a household budget is the best way to keep your home running smoothly. Work out how much you need to spend on essential groceries every week. Then work out your bills. Include gas, electricity, rent or mortgage payments, council tax, phone, water rates and anything else that’s fixed and unavoidable. Add up what you spend in a year and then divide it by 12 to see how much you need to put aside every month. Even better, divide by 52 to see how much you need to save a week. This lets you know how much of your wages you can spend on treats and luxuries. However, try to save some money for unexpected emergencies and the future.
Home sweet home
Many people can’t afford to buy their own home, but renting isn’t easy either. Lots of people who rent say that it just doesn’t feel like home because it isn’t theirs. Young people are often in this position because they haven’t yet saved up enough to get a mortgage on their first home. Getting a foot on the housing ladder is getting harder all the time and lots of young people feel like they’ll never be able to save enough to get a mortgage.Renting isn’t all bad though, and there’s a lot you can do to make your rented house or flat feel like your own. Redecorating to suit your own personality can make you feel much more like you belong. Put photos of your loved ones in prominent places as well as things that reflect your interests and things that you’ve done. Once you feel at home in a place, it’s easier to get things running smoothly as you feel it’s more worth making an effort and taking pride in your home, even if you don’t actually own it.
Dealing with emergencies
You can have everything seeming to run smoothly, paying your bills on time and sticking to a tight budget, when suddenly the unexpected happens and everything is thrown into chaos. These are the worst case scenarios, but it’s still possible to be prepared and cope when emergencies happen.
If your ceiling is leaking, try to find exactly where it’s coming from as quickly as possible, and put an appropriately sized container such as a bucket, a washing up bowl or an empty ice cream tub underneath to catch the water. Switch off all your plug sockets and move any electrical appliances out of the way. Then move anything else that might get damaged. If your furniture is too awkward or heavy to move, cover it with towels or plastic sheeting if you have any. If the leak seems to be coming from your own pipes, turn your water supply off at the mains while you wait for the plumber to arrive.
A blocked toilet is the worst, and you should get it fixed as soon as possible for obvious reasons. Always keep a good plunger in the bathroom as sometimes that’s all that’s needed to suck out the blockage. Otherwise, shoving an old mop into the bowl might dislodge the problem, but don’t be too forceful or you might cause further damage. Removing objects from your own toilet isn’t pleasant, but it’s a lot cheaper than plumbers’ fees.
If you’ve had a broken window, it’s important to get it repaired as soon as possible. Even just a simple crack should not be left unattended as it could be extremely dangerous. Imagine if the whole window suddenly fell in while your child was playing in the room! It doesn’t bear thinking about. All Emergency Services offers a 24-hour call out and re-glazing service the same or next day. They’ll also board up your window for safety until they’re able to return and make a full repair.
One of the most common emergencies is when your boiler breaks down. Typically, this happens in the dead of winter when you’re most in need of central heating and a warm bath or shower. You can reduce the risk of this happening by having your boiler checked and serviced regularly, preferably in the summer months. You can also keep your home running smoother by enrolling in a boiler protection scheme. These may seem expensive, but they pay for themselves as soon as you have a breakdown that you need to get fixed urgently. They often include servicing into the price and give you a much quicker call-out time than if you just searched online for an engineer. Also, you know they’re reliable and qualified and whatever work they need to do is already paid for.While you’re waiting for the engineer to arrive, block your doors and windows with draught excluders and close the curtains to keep heat in. Put an extra pair of socks on and curl up under a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate, a hot water bottle and a woolly hat, as they say that most body heat escapes through the top of your head.
Whether you’re renting or paying a mortgage, the key to running a smooth home is planning ahead. Try to set a household budget and stay within it. Then at least you know how much you’ve got to spare, and you don’t need to worry quite so much when the bills arrive. Emergencies will happen, but just try to stay calm and deal with them as quickly and efficiently as possible.
*Do you have any household tips on how to make your home run more smoothly?