Things to Look Out for Before Buying a Carpet Cleaner

carpet scrubberA carpet cleaner is extremely important for the home. The homes that don’t have these appliances probably rely on a vacuum cleaner to clean their carpets and let’s face it, this is hardly the most efficient thing to do.

When it comes to a carpet cleaner, the most important thing to look out for is the functionality and performance. You should take this into account as soon as the shampoo is mixed with the water and you should monitor the process until the very end when the machine is swallowing that water from your carpet. In order to be able to use this type of appliance in the best way possible, you need to know the basics of using it. And obviously, the ease of usability should be great and the process should be fairly straightforward.

Let us discuss this in a bit more detail!

When you are looking at different machines, there are some areas you need to focus on. Doing this alongside the assistance from carpet cleaner reviews will enable you to pick the machine that provides the best value for you.

The Performance

This is the most important thing for me because the machine that I end up going for, should be able to get rid of tough stains and any dirt that has become embedded into the carpet. You need to be aware that not all carpet cleaning machines will do this job quickly and efficiently. To tell you the truth, quite a lot of them won’t even be able to get rid of tough stains completely. Again, in this situation, reading reviews on specific models is going to be really helpful because you will be able to distinguish the best carpet cleaners from the average ones.

When it comes to the performance, you can’t just look at the removal of stains. As these machines use water to clean the dirt, you always need to look at how quickly they suck up that water. I doubt you will want to walk on a clean carpet that is still wet even though the cleaning process was completed hours ago. You need to look out for good carpet scrubbers that can remove the water from your carpet as quickly as possible. When it comes to this, you need to be aware that most carpet scrubbers won’t be able to do this completely though the very best ones will come pretty close to it.

The Design

Alongside the performance aspect, a high quality carpet scrubber should also come in a design that is easy to use and simple to clean. This will ensure that you don’t encounter any problems with the machine and you use it in the best way possible. In order to ensure that the carpet cleaner has a design that is easy to use, you need to ensure that the essential features are all there. In addition to this, you also need to ensure that the machine isn’t too heavy and can be moved around the place with ease. This also means that you need to take the length of the power cord into account. Another thing to look out for is the sound produced by the machine. Is it extremely loud or are you looking at a relatively quiet carpet cleaner?

The Accessories

This is another important aspect to take into consideration because you don’t buy a carpet cleaner that often. This means that when you are buying one, you need to ensure that you get everything that will allow you to use the machine for a number of years. The perfect example of an essential tool that you should look out for is an upholstery attachment. This will allow you to steam clean your furniture as well.

The Warranty

Lastly, the warranty is always an important part of the best carpet cleaners. This coupled with a good brand name, will ensure that you are getting a machine that is associated with reliability. This improves the image of the product and it will certainly ensure that you have no worries when you have decided to make the purchase.

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Is a Carpet Cleaning Service Worthwhile for your Home?

Carpet cleaning serviceMost people are quite negligent when it comes to cleaning their carpets. I say this because we will often spend 5 or 10 minutes on cleaning the carpet. This basically means removing some of the dirt and dust particles on the surface of the carpet. Once there is nothing on the surface, we assume that the carpet is clean but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Carpets have to be washed regularly and the only way of doing this is either by getting a carpet cleaner for your home or hiring a professional cleaning service to do the job for you.

The funny thing is that if you’ve decided on hiring a proper service, you still need to do this with caution. This is because believe it or not, not all of these services are great. You need to find someone that really knows how the process is carried out.

If they are good at carrying out carpet cleaning then they will minimize the mistakes that you would make. When it comes to these mistakes, if you do it yourself then you might be unable to get rid of the excess water inside your carpet. This is the perfect situation that is suitable for a professional cleaning service.

Despite the need for such a service, I personally prefer to carry it out myself. I know mistakes can happen but these services cost so much that I can literally buy a professional carpet cleaning machine for the same price as getting my carpets cleaned in two rooms. That’s right, that’s how expensive these services are. This is the reason that I’d rather get a top quality machine and spend quite a bit of time on learning how to use it. At least then, I would be able to clean my carpet whenever the need arises. I would advise you to do the same thing but the decision lies with you. Just think about it carefully before spending so much!

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How to Hold a Garage Sale

Garage SaleWhether you’re moving, going overseas, or have just realized it’s getting a bit crowded in your share house, having a garage sale can be a great way to get rid of stuff and make a few bucks. So how do you make it happen?

Choose a date

Just pick a date! Maybe a Saturday a month or two from now. Pick a date and stick to it. If you don’t have a garage, use a carport, yard, entrance area, open car boot… Garage doesn’t have to mean garage. Also, choose a start time to advertise. Don’t make it too early as some keen people will undoubtedly show up even earlier.

Start telling people + advertise

Tell your housemates (if you have them) that you’re having a garage sale and if they want in, they better start sorting their stuff out now. You might also tell a friend/sibling/whoever to bring around a tub of stuff they want to get rid of. If there’s a bigger spread on the day, it makes the sale look more appealing. (Work out a system beforehand for how you will collect the money; keeping an inventory of sales under each name and splitting the money at the end works OK.)

Create a Facebook event invite, email your friends, put up printed signs around the neighborhood, and advertise on Gumtree and in local community newspapers, magazines or street press. Make sure you mention anything outstanding to attract the right buyers, ie. whether you’re offering vintage dresses, tons of books, or big items like furniture or appliances.

Go through all your stuff

Grab some boxes or tubs (ask around local stores for boxes) and start going through your clothes, books, DVDs etc. to decide what you really want/need and what you don’t. If anything is really old or scruffy, consider putting it in a tub labeled ‘free’ on the day of the sale. An easy way to get it off your hands.

Price items

Either buy some stickers from the newsagent and start pricing items (the cheaper the better, though be open to bargaining with people on the day) or else sort the items into different containers for different price points. For example, you might have a tub of books that says ‘$2 each’ and a tub of assorted items that are ‘$3 each’. You might also make deals like: ‘dresses – $5 each or 3 for $10′.

Set up

Make sure everything is sorted and priced the day before, ready to be carried out in tubs, boxes or suitcases. Also make sure you go to the bank and have a ‘float’ ready with $100 or so in different denominations, so that you will be able to provide change. (Keep money on you, in a nerdy bag or similar.) You will need to start setting up about an hour before the advertised start time. If people arrive way too early, it’s up to you whether you would like to let them rummage or whether you want to tell them to come back (you have every right to). Setting up early means you can also make last minute adjustments to prices if you’ve changed your mind! Have your float and your ledger/record book (if needed) with you, a comfortable chair and maybe a book for those inevitable lulls. If you’re the only one running the sale, hopefully you’ve arranged for someone to cover you for short breaks.

Give good customer service

Greet people as they arrive, and be open to their offers if you think they are fair. If you give good service, they might tell their friends that day and it’ll result in more customers. If you’re friendly they’re more likely to be friendly so it’ll also make it a more pleasurable day for you!

Get rid of the rest of the stuff

Whether the day has been a success or not, you’re likely to end up with some leftovers. You could offer them very cheaply to your final customers, or else, depending what type of items they are, you might want to take photos of them (as a package or separately) and offer them for sale on Gumtree or Ebay, though there may be fees involved. The best option, since you’ve decided you really don’t need these items, is to pack them in a car or a few suitcases, and take them down to your local charity shop as donations.

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Cheaper Ways to See the World

  1. Volunteer

Seeing the WorldWhether you volunteer on a farm, in a guest house, or on a community project, plenty of places offer accommodation, food (or both) as a per diem. Even if they don’t, you’ll be doing a good deed and you won’t be out spending money on frivolous things!

To find out about opportunities, either contact NGOs and charitable organisations you support (Greenpeace, for example, offers international volunteering opportunities), or join websites like WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) or Workaway. Also check out Projects Abroad and International Volunteer HQ. Some volunteering opportunities may even contribute to your degree!

  1. Teach English overseas

Once you’ve completed a TESOL course (Teach English as a Second Language), you can travel and be paid for teaching English in many different countries around the world. Search online for further information regarding this.

  1. Couch surf

No, not that kind of couch surfing.

Travel the world and make new friends by crashing on people’s couches/futons/spare beds! The couch surfing community is very egalitarian and if you’re using it you should probably at least offer (on your profile) to show people around your own city. It’s pretty safe if you just contact the people who have great reviews (but they may be popular, too—get in early). Find out more on the website.

  1. Use AirBnB

So it’s a lot like couch surfing but you are paying to stay in people’s houses/apartments. The good thing is that you can often book the whole place to yourself and it’s still cheaper than a hotel. If you’re travelling as a couple or group it can even be cheaper than hostels, and often a lot nicer. Join up here.

  1. Travel by train

One way to save money is to take overnight trains from place to place, saving you a night’s accommodation and a day’s travel. You can book sleeping cabins, pack yourself a midnight feast, and settle in. Be warned though that you’ll be woken for passport checks if crossing borders! Rail passes are usually a lot cheaper for students and ‘youth’. Check out Eurail passes for Europe, for example. If you do travel during the day it’s a great way to see the countryside.

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Five Tips on Living Cheaply

Living CheaplyWhether you’re studying full-time, holding a part-time job, or want to start saving for a holiday, here are five quick tips on living cheaply:

Find cheap digs

Student accommodation, share houses, the granny flat at the back of someone’s house; you can deal with the small space and the noise for a while, if it means having more time to study or more $ to put away for that summer break in Eastern Europe. Gumtree, Flatmate Finders, and are all good places to look.

Eat protein

Eggs and cans of tuna are cheap and good for you! Also, protein makes you feel fuller for longer, so technically you may not have to buy as much food. Great cheap food items with which to pair your protein would be fresh or frozen veg (frying everything up in a pan is cheap and easy), cans of beans (also full of protein), and wholegrain bread.

Find cheap or free entertainment

You don’t want to be stuck in your tiny room all the time. Chances are you’ll have a friend with a larger collection of DVDs and games—invite yourself over! There will always be free stuff happening in your neighborhood, too, like talks, bands, and exhibitions. Or local business might offer special discounts on meals or drinks for students. The Stoffers app can help you find these, of course!

Don’t get into debt

OK, it’s kind of inevitable if you’re a Commonwealth-supported student (but you won’t have to pay that off for ages…). I’m talking about credit card debt. Banks still seem to be happy giving out credit cards with limits higher than you can manage. If you spend too much and then fail to pay the minimum once or a few times then you’ll be paying fees and more interest, and debt can absolutely spiral out of your control! It’s stressful, you don’t need it. So stick to a VISA debit card or something similar, and only use the money you have.

Walk, ride or PT

Obviously a car can be a huge expense. Yes, it affords you the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want, but think of the thousands you spend on fuel and insurance (not to mention repairs, new tyres etc.). You can buy a really good bike for about $300 to $600, and a second-hand one is even cheaper. If you’re in Melbourne, the city is laid-out well for bikes. In Sydney and Brisbane you’ll have a few more hills to grapple with, but think of how fit you’ll get! Ditto for walking, which obviously costs nothing. Public transport costs, but it’s cheap, especially with student discounts. And if you want to get out of the city and need a car all of a sudden, it’s really not too bad to hire one for a weekend.

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How to Save Money on Haricuts

Cheap haircutsThe amount you save directly relates to how much you trust your housemate’s steadiness of hand. Jokes!

But seriously, haircuts are expensive, am I right, ladies? And don’t get me started on the extra cost of color. Numerous times have I been tempted to go Full Britney rather than shell out $100 for a mediocre trim.

Ah, crazy Brit Brit, we hardly knew ye…

The gang has a few hints on how to save money on haircuts without compromising too much on quality.

Tip 1: Log onto your local Gumtree and do a search for in-training stylists looking to practice their trade. These students are often fully qualified hairdressers and just trying to get more experience, so with the blessing of their salons, offer haircuts, blow waves, style, and sometimes, color, completely free! Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, and when the haircut is complimentary, you have to live with the results. Sometimes the student needs to practice certain styles and colors, so for the risk-takers out there, this could be the way to go to save money on haircuts. Plus, as a bonus, you can say you have modeling experience.

Tip 2: But say you don’t trust a trainee with your precious follicles. In this case, do an online search for salons that offer student discounts. As a hint, check out salons close to University campuses, as they often cater to the student population. Many locations offer 10 to 20 percent discounts with a student ID.

Tip 3: Most salons offer first-time discounts. If you put little value on loyalty, simply go to a new salon each time. On the other hand, if you become a salon regular, they often offer free fringe trims and similar services to loyal clients.

Tip 4: Refer your friends! I recently went a new salon and received a new client discount of $25. The stylist tipped me that if I recommended a friend, not only would he/she receive the same discount, but also as a thank-you, I could receive the same discount on my next haircut.

Tip 5: When all else fails, ponytails.

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