Monday, August 15, 2011

How to get a total kitchen makeover for less than $500

The kitchen has always been the heart of the home - a place where the family socializes and entertains friends. It's no wonder a kitchen remodel occupies first place on many homeowners' wish lists, especially at a time when families are spending less time dining out and more time at home. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most expensive and time-consuming home improvement projects a family will undertake, ranging from $17,000 to $20,000 for a basic kitchen remodel.

"Fortunately, now there's an affordable alternative. For less than $500, homeowners can update their old, outdated cabinets and countertops and make them look brand new thanks to breakthrough coating technologies.

Here's how can get your own kitchen transformation on a budget:

Select a color scheme:
Dark accent walls with neutral colors are all the trend right now, but you'll want to make sure you choose a color palette that expresses your personal style and that you think will be around for years to come. Home decorating magazines and websites are great sources of inspiration when selecting a color scheme for your new kitchen.

Start with the cabinets:
They are the focal point of any kitchen and will set the tone for the look and feel of the entire room. Instead of replacing or refacing, it's easy to transform worn, outdated cabinets to the look of beautiful hand-crafted cabinets with Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations. The refinishing system provides you with all the tools you need to give your cabinets a fresh, new look for less than $150 - without the stripping, sanding or priming associated with cabinet painting. It works on all types of cabinets - wood, melamine, laminate and more. Plus it is available in 70 beautiful finishes and is guaranteed to last for years to come.

Rethink your current countertop:
You don't have to replace your countertop to get a sleek new look. With new Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations, you can transform your worn or damaged laminate countertops at a fraction of the cost of replacement. Available in a convenient kit for $250, the innovative coating system comes with all the tools needed to transform your outdated countertops to mirror the look of natural stone such as granite. The coating was put through extensive testing to ensure it could stand up against daily wear and tear. It's available in five different colors and is so easy to use, the entire project can be completed in less than a weekend.

Don't forget the details:
It's easy to make your old cabinet knobs and pulls look brand new with a few coats of spray paint. Try a spray paint like Rust-Oleum Universal Oil-Rubbed Bronze to mimic one of today's hottest metal finishes at a fraction of the cost. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

If you're not a do-it-yourself home owner, but still looking to save money on that new kitchen? You can find many contractors on Save on that'll get the work done for you at a very affordable price.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Efficient ideas to keep your home cool and your utility bill low.

A full two-thirds of the United States is expected to experience above-average summer temperatures this year, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac. With some areas of the country already well into seemingly endless runs of 100-degree weather this summer, it is important for homeowners to take steps to maintain their air conditioning systems now to avoid problems later in the summer.

Save on Everything For most homes, heating and cooling consumes more energy dollars than any other system. Unfortunately, regardless of costs, air conditioning systems often serve as the best refuge from the high summer heat and humidity.

All homeowners can take steps to ensure a longer life for their heating and cooling equipment, says Gary Stiles, who teaches HVAC training.

"Basic air conditioning maintenance will provide better comfort, and a well-maintained unit runs more efficiently, lasts longer, and suffers from fewer breakdowns," says Stiles. "While there are no guarantees, consumers can greatly increase their chances of enjoying a cooler summer by following a few simple steps:

First, be sure to clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed. If you're not sure where to start, filters are often located in the return air duct of the air conditioner itself, directly in the furnace or in filter grilles located in ceilings and/or walls. Check the specifications of your model and buy a replacement, which can be found at most retail stores.

When it's hot outside, keep your window coverings closed during the day to keep solar heat from entering your home and making your air conditioner work harder.

Give your air vents room to breathe by keeping them clean and removing furniture, carpeting or drapes that could block air flow.

In addition to keeping things clean inside; your outdoor unit should also be cleaned twice a year with a water hose. Turn the unit off at the breaker and start washing at the top and work your way down.

Set your thermostat as high as is comfortable in the summer.

Turn off kitchen, bath and other exhaust fans withing 20 minutes after you are finished cooking or bathing.

If you know where your unit's drain is, confirm it is open by running water. Even better, pour bleach directly into the line to kill any algae in it. If you have an air compressor, you can also blow air into the hose from the outlet end to determine if the drain line is open."

These tips are just a small part of ways you can keep your utility bill low. Visit Save on Everything to find great deals and coupons on contractors and services to help keep your home cool and reduce your costs.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Save big on back-to-school sales.

Save on EverythingThe back-to-school season can become a very expensive time of year - especially if you have a child that grew several inches over the summer months.

Add to new clothes all the school supplies and sporting equipment she'll need if she decides to try out for a school team and you've got yourself a full list.

But there are ways to meet your budget, and make sure you get everything on your kids' back to school lists. Here are some tips to cut costs and keep money in your pocket:

Only purchase what you need. Look over last year's equipment and have your child reuse pencils, pens, rulers or glue for the classroom. Sure, folders and notebooks take a beating so you probably will have to purchase some new school supplies. The same holds true for clothing. Find just a couple of mix and match outfits that will stand up to frequent wear and multiple washings to help reduce what you spend on clothing.

Shop the sales. Many states offer clothing tax-free holidays during the back to school season, providing a nice discount. And most department stores also hold promotions and discounts on school supplies and clothing, so keep an eye out for store brochures that will allow you to comparison shop for the lowest prices.

Save big online. Instead of driving all around town trying to find the best deals, stay home and find the best deals on services before leaving the house through websites like For example, if you visit Great Clips to give the kids a nice haircut before the school year begins, you can take advantage of discounts and coupons through the Save on Everything site.

Buy in bulk. Items are cheaper is you buy in bulk, so make a list of all the supplies your children will need for the entire school year and purchase them now, during the back-to-school sales. If you don't need such a large supply, ask a friend or relative to join you in the expense so all of your children can benefit from bulk shopping.

The back-to-school season is so exciting and you can easily get caught up in the flurry of activities while trying to get your children organized. But make sure you're an economical parent and stick to your budget so you can save money for some other fun activities.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Set the scene for easy outdoor entertaining.

It's a beautiful day outside today. It won't be hard to get people to come to an outdoor gathering on a warm summer day, and it should be just as easy to pull together a memorable affair. To make the most of your time and budget, look for low-maintenance solutions that you can use throughout the season.

Get your backyard ready for summer gatherings with these easy tips:

Save on Everything Decking

Decking - Having a great space where guests can gather is the first, and perhaps most essential task. A deck gives guests a place to relax and linger comfortably throughout your party. If you're concerned about the time you'll have to put into keeping your deck looking great, toss out your old ideas of decks requiring careful maintenance and attention year-round. Save On Everything provides many discounts to local companies that can build and maintain your deck for you.

Plants - As much as you want your deck and gathering space to look good, you want guests to be impressed by the natural surroundings of your yard as well. Research perennial plants that thrive not just in your horticultural zone, but in the micro-climate of your home (you particular soil type, sun exposure, etc.) Choose hardy plants that don't require too much pruning or attention, but which provide a beautiful and varied backdrop. If you don't have a green thumb, talk to the experts at your local garden center to get tips on plant selection and care.

Decor - From serving ware to seating, you can assemble all the elements of entertaining without too much stress. If you want to freshen up the look of your deck, invest in weather-resistant outdoor furniture from many local retailersthat can stand up to the elements and will look good in years to come. If new furniture isn't in your budget, look for new cushions and covers that will resists spills and tears. Instead of buying disposable serving ware, look for shatter-proof plates and glasses that are dishwasher safe. You'll be doing the environment a favor and you'll always have it on hand - no more last minute runs to the store when you run out of platic cups.

Food - Don't stress yourself out with a multi-course menu. You can find many restaurants on Save On Everything that offer many takeout specials and catering services. If you're in the mood to prepare something yourself, then let seasonal ingredients be the stars. Serve sliced or grilled fresh fruit for a sweet dessert and rely on tried-and-true party favorites, but with a different spin.

From the food you eat & the dishes you serve to the way you decorate. The less work you have to do, the more you'll be able to enjoy the time with your guests. Save on Everything is here to provide you the best deals on everything you'll need for fun and inexpensive entertaining.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How to socialize your summer with the help of your friends

Summer is in full swing and so is the busiest social season of the year. Longer days mean more time for family, friends and fun in the sun.

Whether you have a packed social calendar complete with weddings, birthday parties and family reunions, or you just spontaneously decided to throw a backyard barbecue on Friday night, your network of friends will likely play a big role in your plans. Lifestyle expert Lisa Gurry offers these tips with the help of and SAVE on Everything on how to socialize your summer, so whether you're planning, hosting or simply attending an event, you won't have to go it alone.

Hectic-free hosting: Let's face it - planning and hosting an event can be stressful. But no one expects you to be Martha Stewart, so embrace the craziness of entertaining and enlist help from your friends. Your guests will feel more comfortable if they get to be a part of the preparation. Consider these tips for hectic-free hosting, and allow the stress to turn into laughter so you can enjoy the party too.

Do your homework: Line up the menu early so you can have time to do your grocery shopping, baking and set-up prior to the day of the party. The last thing you need is a tray of burnt cookies one hour before guests arrive.

Pot-luck parties are a great way to divvy up preparation and shorten the length of your to-do list. The vibe will feel more casual and guests will get to enjoy a unique variety of dishes on the table.

Set the mood with some easy decorations and a killer playlist, and get input from your hippest Facebook friends with Bing's shared shopping lists. They can help you choose between inflatable palm tress and mini tiki torches, and Lady Gaga or Dave Matthews Band. Everyone wins.

Show up in style: A guest's job is typically to make themselves comfortable and have a great time. But there are some unspoken rules to keep in mind to be a gracious guest at this summer's hottest parties.

Don't show up empty-handed or without a smile. Whether you're bringing a dish to contribute to the barbecue, a gift for the birthday boy or a small token of appreciation for the host, bring something. Personalize your present at where you can see what the recipient "likes" best on Facebook, guaranteeing that you'll impress with your gift selection. You'll feel so confident with your perfectly wrapped choice; you won't even need to include a gift receipt. Most importantly, remember that you are at a party - enjoy yourself and let it show.

If you're invited to an event that involves a bikini, boost your confidence before you go by purchasing a colorful sarong or a fresh pedicure or tan. Don't let the thought of showing up in a bikini scare you into RSVP-ing "no." Lift your spirits with some colorful accessories and a fruity margarita and you'll be ready to party poolside all day long.

Planning to attend with a plus-one? Always be sure to give the host a head-up. Unexpected party guests can cause awkward conversations and unnecessary stress for the party planner.

Get out of town: Sometimes the best summer events are nowhere near your home town, and weekend getaways are what summer is all about. The days are longer, the temperature is warmer and it's not unheard of to sneak away from your desk a little early on a Friday afternoon. Now's the time to embrace your summer travel wishes, so consider these tips to get out of town before summer's end.

Pack light. Chances are, wherever you're headed, it's going to be warm. Plan to live in your swimsuit, some jean shorts and a few stylish tank tops. The last thing you need to worry about while vacationing at the beach is how you're going to lug a giant suitcase up three flights of stairs. All you need to have fun is good company and good weather, so leave the closet at home.

If steep prices have been keeping you on travel lockdown, break free. Opt for a road trip if your destination is close enough. It'll save you money and provide a great opportunity to belt out your favorite tunes on the road with your closest friends. If driving is not an option, search for flights on SAVE on Everything's travel page. You can also search for flights on Bing and "like" your desired route to receive notifications of great airfare deals to that city directly in your Facebook feed. What's more, you can find a free place to stay with the Friends Who Live Here feature - Bing will show you which of your friends live in the cities you're traveling to so you can save your hotel money and catch up with old friends.

Once you've arrived, unplug from status updates, Tweets and text messages. Be present and enjoy the time spent away from real-time updates. Put down the phone and relax - you're on summer vacation.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Five ingredients for a memorable family vacation

There’s a reason families continue to cram the whole crew into the minivan and look forward to summer getaways. With everyone short on time, from PTA meetings to soccer games and everything in between, a family vacation is still the best way to soak up the time you have to share with your loved ones. The family vacation is something that creates lasting memories, and stories that get passed down the generational ladder.

But what is it that makes a family vacation so great? Reasons range from special attention given to each family member, to activities you all do together that bring you closer. Wherever you choose to travel, here are five ingredients that are sure to make your trip memorable for everyone.

Get active together: Choose an adventure the whole family can enjoy during your trip. Maybe it’s seeing the area you’re visiting by bicycle or horseback. Or perhaps there’s a theme park nearby where you can all enjoy a thrill. Taking a unique class offered by the resort where you are staying or a nearby activity center can also be a great way to bond. Choosing a resort with family activities is a good idea if you like the simplicity of having everything in one place.

Give everyone the star treatment: Before you leave, make sure to ask all family members what types of things they’d like to do during your vacation and plan so everyone is considered. Try to stay somewhere that goes out of its way to make all family members feel welcome. For example, The American Club Resort in Kohler, Wis., has a special check-in for kids where they receive a gift package to enjoy during their stay.

Get outside: One of the best ways to enjoy a beautiful destination is to explore its natural areas. Taking a hike with the whole family can expose your children to the wonders of the outdoors, and they’re sure to enjoy a natural experience that is different to what they would see at home. Also, a day at the beach is sure to be a hit with everyone.

Make time for alone time: If you’re spending a whole week together, each family member will want some time for themselves to explore their own interests. Allow time for afternoon relaxation and consider designating one day for individual activity. The American Club Resort makes this easy for families by offering fun activities for children, while mom and dad take advantage of the downtime at the award-winning resort offers golf and tennis lessons for kids, as well as arts and crafts and a minicamp for younger children.

Make meals special: Vacation is a great time to try new foods together. Whether you’re grilling at your cabin, or dining at a family-friendly establishment, encourage family members to branch out from their normal eating habits. If your vacation is long enough, let each family member have a night to pick what the family should do for dinner.

Family vacations are truly memorable and when each family member feels special and enjoys not only the shared activities, but has the choice to participate in individual activities that fit their interests. Whether that’s being outdoors, adventuring into a new culinary territory or taking a few minutes to oneself, family vacations are most appreciated when the destination offers activities to fit everyone’s interests. Visit SAVE on Everything for the best vacation deals. Making sure each person feels included in this summer’s vacation ensures everyone will have stories to tell for years to come.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Five tips for greening your ride and your wallet for the summer drive.

The peak driving season is upon us and warm weather typically means the windows are rolled down, the radio is turned up and there’s nothing ahead but the open road. High fuel costs and the extra mileage on your vehicle, however, can hit your wallet – and the environment – harder than you’d like.

But a day trip to the beach or a back road cruise doesn’t have to break the bank or pollute the earth.

“Once the weather warms up, people start to hit the roads more frequently and for longer periods of time,” says Rob Stravitz, vice president of marketing for Valvoline Instant Oil Change. “Visiting a quick-lube location like Valvoline Instant Oil Change before hitting the road can increase your miles per gallon and decrease your overall environmental impact.”

Stravitz advises travelers to start with small steps like parking in the shade and keeping a regular oil change schedule. “Increasing your vehicle’s fuel economy can be as simple as finding a garage instead of parking in the hot sun,” Stavitz says. “You can also save up to $140 a year on fuel by simply getting a full service oil change regularly. It’s small steps like this that can pay large dividends to your wallet in the long run.”

Here are five tips and tricks to keep top-of-mind before embarking on your next summer cruise.

Take control of your cruise and don’t idle.
Utilizing cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed, which in most cases improves your fuel economy. It also requires less gas to turn a vehicle back on than to let it idle when you stop for a quick break.

Change your oil regularly and use the right grade.
Regular oil changes can increase your fuel efficiency. Couple regular changes with the proper grade motor oil and you can increase your fuel economy by 2 percent or more while keeping your vehicle running smoothly. While you’re at it choose a motor oil that’s better for the environment. Valvoline’s new NextGen motor oil provides 100 percent Valvoline protection in a product made with 50 percent recycled motor oil. Recycling to make new oil takes fewer resources, which makes NextGen great for your engine and better for the environment.

Inflate and rotate
Accurately inflated tires are safer and can increase gas mileage by more than 3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Proper air pressure coupled with regularly rotating the tires also improves handling and extends the life of your tires by maximizing tread wear.

Clean your fuel system
Your entire fuel system can get dirty with deposits over time. A couple of ways to know if your fuel system is unclean are if you engine hesitates during acceleration or idles roughly. Valvoline Instant Oil Change offers a multi-step fuel cleaning service that helps to restore fuel efficiency, which can yield fuel savings of 2 percent or more.

Go for the shade … or the garage
The sun zaps fuel from your gas tank. Parking in the shade or garage will lessen the amount of evaporating emissions with the added benefit of adding a little change to your pocket.

As the weather continues to improve and more drivers find respite on the road, it’s essential to ensure your vehicle is in top shape from motor oil to muffler. To get the best auto services before your summer vacation and to save the most money, visit SAVE on Everything for coupons and specials on auto services.