Photo Credit: david.travis via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: david.travis via Compfight cc

It’s official official that we now are homeowners! After an exciting/crazy/tense month of escrow we now have a house! There were some mishaps and potentially bad things that happened along the way, but we have a great real estate agent and mortgage broker that really helped us out and smoothed out the process as much as possible. Having experts in the field to explain and tell you what’s going to happen is absolutely essential when it comes to house buying.

We found out this morning that the city had processed our papers and switched the house to our name! As soon as that happens then the house is yours and then you can go pick up the keys. All day long I feel like I’ve been riding around on a little cloud zooming around in little whee circles. Did a little dance at my desk at work and called my husband to celebrate a tiny bit together. We’re definitely going out tonight to celebrate! We’re so lucky that we were able to close on time and didn’t have to endure a long drawn out escrow period.

Here’s a quick recap of everything that went down in the last month of escrow!
Our offer was accepted and we went into escrow.
For two weeks we read and signed what felt like a gazillion documents.
We had inspections and the appraisal and negotiated with the seller.
The loan was held up because of the IRS backlog. They took forever to send my transcript!
Loan was approved!
This week we signed a huge stack of loan papers.
The escrow company sent out the papers but Fedex was given the wrong address!
Our mortgage broker moved on the papers and worked it so we were able to close on time!
We got our house keys!!!!

That was an extremely simplistic version of everything that happened. Buying a home is definitely an eye opening experience where you will learn a lot no matter who you are. There are so many things that go into the process that it can be overwhelming at times. I can’t imagine how it would have been without a good real estate agent who answered any questions we had and made sure we were up to speed.

Things happened that were out of our control. Those are usually the most frustrating since there is absolutely nothing we could do! You can’t go yell at the IRS or make them hurry along. Because of the government shutdown they were so behind that we were really worried that my transcript wouldn’t come in. It ended up being a week late but it had been requested 4 weeks prior. This week we were worried that our papers wouldn’t arrive in time for everything to be processed. Everything worked out in the end though!

It’s time to celebrate for tonight! Happy friday readers!


Photo Credit: Ben Heine via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Ben Heine via Compfight cc

Most of the earth is covered in water but its not usable for us since its all salt water. It always seems like we have tons of water readily available to us. It’s strange to think that there are a lot of people who don’t have access to clean water. They have to walk for miles to get one or two buckets of water. Whereas we have access to gallons and gallons of water with a flick of a faucet. We use it to water our lawns, take baths, wash dishes, cook our food, and of course to drink! I don’t have to pay for water now since it’s included in the rent, but I’m sure it’ll be an eye opener when I get my first water bill for the house.

Even though it seems like there’s unlimited water at my fingertips, I still try to conserve water as much as possible. There’s no reason in my mind to waste it if I don’t have to. Plus it’s good practice for when I do have to pay for water! Los Angeles is especially in need of usable water. It’s constantly in drought and there are fires that break out frequently throughout the year. Water is very precious here but that doesn’t stop people from using too much.

To conserve water there’s a few easy things to do!

Bathroom
The easiest thing you can do is to not let the water run when brushing your teeth! Another thing you can do is not take baths and only do short showers. If you take a shower longer than 5 minutes then it’s about the same amount as a bath. For the shower you can also install a earth-friendly shower head. It aerates the water so you shouldn’t notice much of a difference but your water usage will be less. Lastly, another area to look at is the toilet. You can install a low flow toilet or place a filled plastic bottle in the tank to use less water. Most of these are simple enough to do!

Kitchen
I don’t have a good sense of proportion so I end up boiling too much water. To get around this I try to measure out my water carefully to not waste any. If possible I try to use my dishwasher only when it’s fully loaded. A lot of my dishes happen to be hand wash only though. I try not to run my water at full blast and re-use rinse water if possible.

Laundry
Can’t wait to have my own washer and dryer! We’re definitely going to be looking for a high efficiency washer that uses less water and energy. One thing we already do now is wash clothes only when its a full load.

Watering plants and the lawn
Leftover water from rinsing veggies I usually save and use to water the plants. It works out pretty well now and I never have to use fresh tap water for the plants. I haven’t had a lawn before but it seems like its better to water in the morning or at night. Less water gets evaporated which means more water for the grass. If possible in the future I may replace the grass with plants fit for the dry climate. I’ve even heard of replacing grass with astro turf! No mowing or watering involved ever again!

 

By saving water I can save a ton of money too! I know it won’t help people halfway across the world who don’t have access to water but it’ll do a bit to help me and hopefully people around me.

What are some ways you save water?


Photo Credit: vincent wang2010 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: vincent wang2010 via Compfight cc

I love going into my kitchen and placing my hand underneath the automatic soap dispenser in there and having some soap land in my palm. It’s pretty fun! The dispenser makes a whirring noise and dispenses the correct amount of soap I set it to. It makes life much easier when my hands are dirty and I don’t want to dirty the soap dispenser too. I don’t have one of those automatic faucets though so I still need to touch that to get the water on. In the kitchen it’s a lever I can usually turn on by using my arm though.

Having automatic items in the home is fairly new. We’re all pretty much familiar with automatic items in a public restroom though. Everything can literally be automatic! The toilet, water faucet, soap dispenser and the hand dryer! It’s certainly great when they work, but I’ve had my experiences where you just can’t get the faucet to turn on or the toilet to flush! That part isn’t so fun.

High costs
Obviously with electronics anything special costs a lot more. For a soap dispenser I can spend a $1. For a automatic soap dispenser from Simplehuman? About $35 to $45! It definitely costs a lot more for convenience and style. I was lucky enough that my husband won this one in a contest so we didn’t have to pay for it. Otherwise we wouldn’t have it at all. It even came with a year supply of special made soap. Haha…which I won’t be buying once that supply runs out. I’ll just buy regular soap and thin it out with water so it works correctly. I’m sure other automatic items cost a lot more too. The only one I can see saving money is the automatic hand dryer. Higher cost up front but savings over time from not having to buy paper towels.

Malfunction risks
Worst thing when using the restroom is soaping up then not being able to get the automatic water faucet to work! This seems to happen a lot to me actually. I end up having to go to another one or even a few different ones. A bit embarrassing when the bathroom is full. There’s a lot more that goes into making automatic items and a lot more that can break too. The soap dispenser we have can be finicky at times. It stopped working altogether at some point and then just started working for no reason we could see.

Earth-friendly or not so?
All these automatic items need electronics in them to work. Makes it a lot less earth friendly because of the manufacturing and the components needed. It’s so convenient but not so great for the earth. The only item that is might be the hand dryer. There’s still the argument though of paper versus electricity being the lesser evil.

 

What kind of automatic items do you like having around?


Photo courtesy of www.bucketsandbows.com

Photo courtesy of www.bucketsandbows.com

Today’s post will be about laundry tips to keep your clothes looking good! It’ll save you lots of money to preserve the clothes you already have, and it’s more earth-friendly. Jeans are the worst offender because it takes so many chemicals to make them store friendly. Clothes can be pretty pricey, and if you’re the fashionable kind, then you might be cycling through a whole closet each season. With a little bit of time and effort, you can make the most out of your money.

Prepping and pre-treating your clothes

Oof…it sounds so boring doesn’t it? This step is very important though. It’ll help prevent wear and tear on your clothing and also keep the stains at bay. Before you toss everything in the wash, turn all your shirts and pants inside out. This way, the wear and tear will be on the inside of your clothing where you can’t see it. Zip up all your sweatshirts and jackets so that the exposed zipper doesn’t rip through any clothing. Also, tie up those hoodie strings so you don’t end up with them wrapped around clothes or stuck inside the hood. Look for any paper you left in pockets or else you’ll find pieces all over your laundry. Lastly, get a good laundry stain remover and spray up those stains! This includes anything you dropped onto your clothes and from necks or underarms.

Wash in cold water and use less detergent

Putting your laundry through a cold cycle will help preserve the color of your clothing. It also prevents shrinkage too. If you add in a cup of white vinegar, that also helps your colors stay put where they should be. Also, I generally use less detergent than instructed. My clothes come out nice and clean. Clothing usually doesn’t get that dirty in the first place.

Skip the dryer and get some drying racks

You know how the lint trap in the dryer is always full after a load or two? That lint is coming off your clothes from rubbing against each other for an hour. Save some wear and tear and dry clothing on racks instead. Your clothes will last longer and you’ll save money on the dryer! Since I live in an apartment, I have communal washers and dryers that cost $1.25 each. A drying rack costs about $15, but the cost is recouped after 12 cycles. Usually, I need two racks for a load of laundry. More effort on your part, but then you save money and energy. Dryers take a lot of energy to run!

Do you have any laundry tips to share?


A pharox solar kit! Acts as a charger for small items and can be a light too!

A pharox solar kit! Acts as a charger for small items and can be a light too!

Living in bright sunny Southern California certainly has its benefits. The weather here every day is nearly always 72 degrees and sunny! It is rare that it rains and we do not get any snowfall. Instead we have numerous earthquakes, wildfires because of the dryness, and a lot of people living here.

The sun is certainly much stronger here than it is in the mid-west. I never used to burn at all during the summertime, but now I have to be careful year round to stay in the shade or use sunscreen or else I would end up looking like a lobster. That makes it a great location for solar energy! There are plenty of solar panels on buildings here. A lot of houses have them mounted on their rooftops! I have even heard of a solar panel lease so that people do not have to bear the initial hefty price. Solar energy still has a long way to go before really becoming widespread though. The initial cost of the panels themselves deter a lot of people, plus they are made with pieces that need to be properly recycled at the end of its life.

Since I am renting an apartment currently, solar panels are definitely not an option. The best I can do is to get a solar charger! The picture above is of my first ever solar charger that I decided to try. I spent $25 to get a charger and light combo. I have not really used it as a light much, but it produces a nice clean light in a few varying levels of brightness. Mainly I use it for charging small items that can connect via USB.

Other solar chargers I have seen are attached to backpacks or messenger bags. Some are much smaller and take much longer to charge up. Another one I considered was a compact one that folded out three wings like a fan. So far though, solar chargers are still on the pricey end and have limited use. I generally use the charger for my smartphone, it only charges about 1/8 of the way actually. It can give my bluetooth a full charge though! It is actually best used as a light, when fully charged the light can stay on 45 hours at the lowest light level. Or so the product website tells me. Haha I have never actually tried it before. Seems though that solar chargers for consumers are still best for smaller, less electricity sucking items.

The cost of a solar charger can be hefty depending on which product you choose. I have not used mine long enough to really know if the overall cost is gained back through the money you save by not using electricity as much. Technology will continue to advance and hopefully the price overall will drop! Definitely excited to see where this will go. Once my hubby and I get a place of our own I will look into solar panels for the house. They may not really be feasible yet, but one day…

The potential of using the sun’s energy for power is exciting! It is in theory absolutely limitless and if we can just finesse how we convert it to electricity, then really the sky is the limit! A beautiful option for cleaner energy that will make our planet a lot less polluted.

Do you have any solar panels or solar chargers? What has your experience been like?