Home Improvements You Never Knew You Could Do Yourself

by Renee' Anderson 31. May 2013

Home Improvements

Spring is here, the weather is beginning to get warmer, and I’m ready to kick back and relax!

Wait, there are some things around the house that need to be tended to first. After all, I’d rather kick back and relax on a nice patio than the dirt/mud area in my backyard.

Wait, I don’t have the money to pay a contractor to come out to my house, design and build me a patio. Wait, I’ll do it myself. Seriously, how hard can it be? I mean it’s not like my husband and I work full time and have small children running around getting into as much as they possibly can…sure, we have the free time to build a patio (if we don’t sleep at night). But, do we have the “know-how?!”

DIY Patio

Google?

Google says- YES!

I decided to get this patio started while my darling husband was at work one day. The kids were running around the yard and I walked past a pile of patio pavers that we had lying around from our fire pit project (another DIY), LAST YEAR. I was tired of looking at them lying there and decided I’d fill up the wheel barrel, take them around the house to where I wanted my “patio” unload, and get to work.

I use quotes around patio because my patio and your patio are not the same. There are some elaborate patios that are fantastic, but would that be practical for me to do myself? No. (I didn’t have to Google that one.)

Setting realistic goals (based on the small amount of patio pavers I had and the small amount of money I had to purchase more), I grabbed our pic axe and began loosening the ground. Then I started throwing the patio pavers down, until I realized they were completely uneven. At this point, the kids were done entertaining themselves and were now “assisting” me in building the patio (a.k.a. digging in the dirt to find worms and “cool” insects).

About 10 patio pavers in, my husband arrives home J “Wow!” he says. From there, he got on his smartphone, Googled “make your own patio,” went to the hardware store to buy rocks and sand, leveled the ground and put the patio in! In the end, it took about a week’s time (could have been one day but again, we work full-time and have crazy kids), and $450 for a 150 square foot patio (I told you it was small) vs. $2,500 to have someone else do it for us.

So, I’ve demonstrated one home improvement project you can do yourself, but there are lots more! See our Pinterest page for more DIY ideas.

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these other realted articles:

5 Home Improvements That Add Value

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FREE Shred-It Day

by Renee' Anderson 15. April 2013

Free Shred-It Day

What do you do with your paper documents when you no longer need them? Toss them in the trash? You might want to reconsider that decision. I never thought much about shredding important documents, until we found out the trash men were going through our trash! It’s a scary feeling knowing that someone you don’t know has access to your personal information. Don’t let it happen to you - take advantage of 1st Mariner Bank’s FREE Shred-It Day!

1st Mariner Bank is holding a FREE Shred-It Day on Saturday April 27th. There will be Shred-It trucks at the Cockeysville and Dundalk branches from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Just in time for Earth Day (April 20th) and spring cleaning! Not only is shredding your documents an important step in protecting against identity theft, it’s an easy way to help the environment.

So, if you have things like old paper bank statements lying around collecting dust, bring them to 1st Mariner’s FREE Shred-It Day on April 27th. And, by the way, if you are currently receiving paper bank statements, consider enrolling in electronic statements. Why? Enrolling in eStatements is a safe and secure way to receive your account information without crowding up your file cabinets (or if you’re like me, baskets in your kitchen stuffed with papers that you don’t have time to file/don’t feel like filing) and save some trees at the same time!

Go Green! Join us April 27th for 1st Mariner Bank’s FREE Shred-It Day, and enroll your accounts in eSatatements today!

Is Growing a Garden "Worth It"?

by Renee' Anderson 20. March 2013

Grow Money

It's official - spring is here! As the weather is getting nicer and the daylight is lasting longer you are likely beginning to awaken from your winter hibernation and venture outdoors! Maybe you wandered out to your backyard to find a big empty plot of grass. "Hmm," you think to yourself, "Maybe I should start a garden." Then you start to think about how much work it would probably entail, and you wonder whether or not it would be worth it. So is growing a garden worth it?

It depends on your purpose.

Do you want to garden because you think you'd enjoy it and it would make for a nice hobby?

Or, do you want to garden simply because you're looking to save money?

Figure out your purpose. Gardening is very time consuming and is not for those who don’t enjoy breaking a sweat and getting their hands dirty. Gardening is also a lot about trying things until they work; although, with the internet at our fingertips, you can certainly do some easy research before experimenting.

Either way, gardening differs from state to state (i.e. climate), county to county (i.e. potential predators), and backyard to backyard (i.e. soil composition). So, you can do all of the research you want, but trial and error is inevitable. Why do I bring this up? Because, if you don’t have a certain level of interest in gardening, you likely will not do the appropriate research and will become frustrated with the experimenting process.

It’s hard to come up with an accurate cost analysis since conditions vary from garden to garden. For example, let’s say you plant 6 tomato plants at $1.47 apiece, but you live in a wooded area and deer ate 3 of your plants. Your neighbor may have put a fence up and had no problems with the deer, but how much did it cost to put the fence up (don’t forget labor)?

You see what I mean? There are lots of considerations to factor in when gardening, but the bottom line is- if you want to start a garden simply to save money, it’s not worth it, unless you put in a decent-sized garden (at least 30’ x 50’), and expect to take a money loss the first 1-3 years. In the long run, a large garden will pay off, but it takes some time to get your garden into tip top producing shape! Once your garden has become a vegetable producing machine, you will not only have enough to feed your family, but enough to share with neighbors and enough to can, freeze, or dry/dehydrate.

On the other hand, gardening is a great hobby, even if you’re not saving a ton of money. For me, gardening is a hobby that gives me some exercise, a way to de-stress, and a feeling of self-accomplishment. Since gardening can be hard work, I also find it very self-fulfilling to walk out and see my plants thriving in the sun, and to pick fresh vegetables that I grew myself. It’s also a huge plus to know exactly where your food comes from and to know if there were chemicals used, etc. There’s nothing like the taste of fresh asparagus picked directly from your backyard!

That being said, gardening, to me, is worth it! I might not be saving hundreds of dollars a year, but I’m certain not losing hundreds either, and I thoroughly enjoy it!

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

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