Posts

get fit The summer is the perfect time to get in shape. Trips to the beach, vacations, and yard work in the hot sun call for sleeveless tees and beach attire. If you live in an apartment community, now you won’t have to leave your home, or break your budget, to get in shape.

Gym

Want to run in air conditioning? Most apartments with gyms have treadmills if nothing else. And for casual strength trainers, do a few cable-based exercises to compliment the run. Apartments with gyms are fantastic for procrastinators because all the excuses for skipping—the drive, the cost—are eliminated. And you most likely won’t need a spotter for your lifts, because most apartments will have cable-based equipment only.

Pool

Swimming in the pool is a great way to burn calories and relax at the same time. When you run, you’ll sweat. Do you ever remember sweating while swimming? Also, who doesn’t like floating? Buy a small pool hoop and basketball to compliment the swim. Work on your dunk game while exercising. You can also swim laps and see how close you can get to a Michael Phelps time (given, you probably won’t have an Olympic size pool). The pool is a great way to exercise while also enjoying yourself.

Bark Park

Have an energetic dog? Maybe it doesn’t get enough exercise. Jog with your pet to the dog park, then teach it some tricks. Many bark parks have agility training equipment. With a bag of treats in hand and some determination, you’ll be surprised how much discipline a dog can acquire with a few weeks training. And if there is no equipment, at least you’ll have some open room to play fetch with your dog.

Attaining your fitness goals can be a breeze when you live in an apartment community. Those amenities aren’t for nothing. Take advantage of all your community offers!

how to save moneyMoney in the future isn’t a matter of relying on every paycheck coming in exactly as expected. If you save up, the future looks a lot different. You can plan trips and large purchases ahead of time. It’ll take all the stress out of spending, and it’ll take a lot of stress out of living. Here are some tips to get you started.

Establish Goals

Why do you make money? To pay bills? What else? Do you want to fund a hobby, go on a trip, plan for a future child’s schooling? If you create goals, you’ll be able to reach them with financial plans—estimate how much you need, how much you make, and how much time you’ll have, then the rest is easy. These considerations are the foundations for any budget.

Basic Budgeting

Some people hate this word. But budgeting is the only way to get your money to work for you. Of course, you work to earn money, but have you thought about the ways in which you can, now, become more independent from your earnings? That’s what making your money work for you means.

When you’re hanging out with friends, or that new video game is released, it’s easy to blow the latest paycheck. In these situations, it can seem like your always chasing that next payday. Create an expense sheet. List all your monthly expenses—estimate if you need to, for your food and gas costs, for instance. Then add all your income per month together. Now subtract your expenses from your income. The money left over is free for you to save or assign to different goals or wants for the rest of the month. It’s a good policy, however, to try to save at least ten percent of what you make monthly in a savings account. And many people recommend only spending about 5% of your monthly budget for entertainment.

This is just an extremely basic budgeting strategy. But there are plenty of strategies available online. Whatever you do, plan ahead!

living next to a loud neighborIt’s a renter’s worst nightmare. Loud, thumping noises from the ceiling at night. Booming music from across the hall. What can be done? Chances are, you’ll be seeing your neighbors for a while, especially if you just signed a lease. Here are some tips for resolving noise issues with your neighbor in a courteous way.

The Right Place

The easiest way to deal with a loud neighbor is to avoid one altogether. When you visit your next apartment community, talk with the office staff about your schedule to determine with them the best place for you to stay. Are there sections of the apartment community that stay home all day? That leave for work early? Come up with some questions that’ll help you determine an area perfect for your own routine.

Securing an upper floor apartment is also an easy way to eliminate a possible source of noise: the ceiling. With an upper floor room, you won’t have to worry about running children, jumping pets, and falling objects.

Communication and Empathy

Some unexpected noise is to be expected when you live in a community. So it’s good to be understanding, especially if it’s a first offense or a holiday, maybe even a move-in day. When you haven’t heard loud noises from your neighbor before, trying to think about the situation from your neighbor’s point of view is helpful.

If occurrences are frequent, or even if they aren’t, talk with your neighbor. Maybe they don’t know how loud they are. Sometimes walls can seem thicker than they are. Or maybe they just haven’t lived in an apartment community before. Whatever it is, the noise can be an honest mistake.

But if talking with the offender doesn’t work, and giving them the benefit of the doubt doesn’t either, write a note, and give the same note to your property manager. Bringing the apartment manager into the conversation can be crucial. It’s also important to discuss the situation with other neighbors. Maybe your problem is theirs. And maybe you can talk with the neighbor as a group if needed.

Dealing with a noise problem is as simple as communicating with your neighbors and property manager. But the noise problem is also avoidable. Move to an apartment with a game plan to put your best foot forward.

prevent mosquitoesMosquito bites shouldn’t ruin the summer for you. Open the windows and curtains and enjoy the weather from the inside of your home. Keep the mosquitoes away from your apartment this summer with these tips.

Screens

Most modern windows come with screens. But some don’t. You can purchase a low-cost screen to fit any window size at most hardware stores. Lighten things up with some sunshine. Enjoy the breeze and air out your apartment with a window screen.

Seal Windows and Doors

As time goes by, wood splits and houses settle. Basically what this means is sometimes your windows and doors allow a bit of air (and therefore bugs) to get by. Insects crawl through the smallest cracks. You can prevent most bugs from entering your home by purchasing door sweeps and weather strips. Either will take about five minutes or less to apply. It’s worth the peace of mind. Then you’ll also be prepared for winter!

Outdoor Water and Plants

If you have a patio or balcony attached to your apartment, be sure no standing water is sitting in plants, bowls, or chairs. Mosquitoes are notorious for breeding in standing water. Females prefer to lay eggs here. So it’ll also attract males.

If you don’t have plants on your patio, get some. Certain types of plants actually repel mosquitoes. You’ll also add to your balcony’s beauty. What’s the downside? With plants, you’ll get fresh air and, with certain types, a mosquito-free patio or balcony.

Repelling mosquitoes is actually pretty simple. Ensure they don’t ruin your summer by taking simple steps. And if all else fails, use mosquito repellent spray. Enjoy yourself this summer by preventing mosquito bites.

how to recycle when apartment doesn'tEveryone knows the slogan: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” But not everywhere you go or everywhere you live will have established recycling practices. This can be tough for environmentally conscious people. But, in our day, it’s not the final word on whether you recycle. If you find yourself in an apartment community that doesn’t recycle, here are some tips for getting on track.

Website for Locating Recycling Centers Near You

The first step to recycling is finding a place to recycle. Earth911.Com lists recycling centers near you. You can even search for centers by material type. It’s one of North America’s largest recycling databases, containing over 350 materials and 100,000+ listings. You’re bound to find a recycling center near you.

Establish a Recycling System

It’s easiest to recycle when you purchase separate bins or trash cans for different material types. Unless you can find a recycling center that will take most, if not everything, you will recycle at your home, you’ll need more than one bin. Labeling bins will be helpful to your guests and will prevent mixing materials that can’t be recycled together.

Ask Your Neighbors

Your neighbors might be interested in joining your recycling endeavor. Ask around. Maybe you can set up a system that works for your neighbors too. This will definitely cut costs: purchase a community bin and carpool to the recycling center. Create a rotating schedule so that nobody has to take trips to the recycling center often.

Reduce and Reuse

Don’t forget the rest of the slogan. Recycling, though a very important part of going green, is only one step in the process. A more mindful approach involves reducing consumption and reusing what you can.

Plastic water bottles and gas station coffee cups are a few of the easiest products to reduce your consumption of. Simply buy a ten dollar water bottle, or a ten dollar coffee mug, and you’ll be set for thousands of refills. Think of all the landfill space you’ll save. You’ll also save quite a bit of money from not purchasing those 24 packs of water.

If you have hard water at your home, or if your faucet water doesn’t taste good to you, for the price of three 24 packs of water you can purchase a filter that will last months. A good water filter is another way to reduce consumption.

A few tricks can also put you in a place to reuse water. For instance, when ice melts, simply use it to give to your pets or water your plants. You can also water your plants with that water you drain from your pasta.

Conclusion

As the population continues to grow and technology improves, the need to recycle will become more and more urgent. Establishing recycling practices now will ensure that you’ll be ahead of the curve. But it will also mean that you have provided a better place for future generations to live. Everything you use is somewhere: things don’t disappear because they are put in the trash. Remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

2 Budget Breaking HabitsBudgeting allows you to buy the things you need now while saving for the future. It’s important that the habits you develop on the go don’t break your budget. Identifying whether you have these habits may save your money and your budget.

Savings

If there is a single reason to budget, it’s probably to save for the future. Having a savings account is a crucial step in this process. And, with some banks, you can link your savings to your debit card to protect you from overdraft fees and charges.

But more importantly, the purpose of savings is to save your money. So transferring money from your savings too often is a budget breaking habit. One way to ditch this habit is to exclude the money in your savings from your monthly planning. Don’t even consider it as a backup, in case you need more money for the month. Just let it sit in savings, indefinitely, collecting interest.

Smaller Purchases

A Starbucks coffee. A lunch from that restaurant at work. A video game. Another coffee from Starbucks. A shirt. Dinner from Little Caesars. These purchases add up. Pretty soon you could spend $50 to $100 in a day without noticing.

Purchasing on the go without accounting for it in your budget is a budget breaking habit. When you’re creating your budget, apportion money, weekly or daily, for small, miscellaneous purchases. This should allow some wiggle room for coffees and, maybe once in a while, a pizza. But whatever you do, don’t buy something if you haven’t accounted for it in your budget. That way, you’ll always be safe.

Conclusion

Creating a budget is an important step toward creating a better future for yourself. It’s an easy way to plan ahead and save. It’s also a stress-free way of enjoying yourself in the present: because you know that bill a month from now will be paid off with the money you’ve set aside for it. But a budget won’t work if you develop bad habits. If you have them, break these two habits, or they will break your budget.

Poolside EtiquetteA pool at the apartment complex is a huge luxury during hot summer days. But when the poolside is packed with people, after hour cleaning and maintenance can be difficult to keep up with. Do your part to keep the poolside as good as you found it by practicing good pool etiquette.

No Glass

Breakables, especially glass, should not be brought to the poolside. The poolside is one of the only public places people walk around without shoes. Broken glass at the poolside can close the pool for a few days for cleanup, and, worse, someone could get injured. Keep your fancy glassware inside when you go for a swim.

Clean Up

Sure, it’s nice to relax in the sun, eat some Cheetos, and take a quick swim. But you wouldn’t want to swim with that Cheetos bag floating in the water, would you? What about a somewhat empty McDonald’s shake? Probably not. Be sure you leave the poolside with everything you bring with you.

Limit Guests

It’s fun to swim with friends. But apartment pools are made specifically for the hundreds of residents that already live at the property. It’s okay to bring friends every once in a while, of course. But be courteous to your neighbors by limiting your guests.

Limit Noise

What do you think of when you think of relaxing at the poolside? You probably don’t think of people screaming “Marco!” “Polo!” in the pool. Or a loud country song that probably shouldn’t see the light of day in the first place. All this is to say, when you’re at the pool, try to limit your noise so people who are trying to relax in the open can do so.

Practicing good pool etiquette is an easy way to help keep the pool open all summer by limiting trash. It’s also a good way to connect with friends and neighbors without disturbing others. When you’re at the poolside this summer, be sure to practice good pool etiquette!

wifi tipsMany apartments require tenants to use the property Wi-Fi provided service. Others let tenants choose their own service. Either way, many people have the capability of creating Wi-Fi hotspots with their mobile devices. Wi-Fi networks are virtually everywhere. A good Wi-Fi network name is an easy way to protect your network without spending money.

Many people will just connect to any Wi-Fi network that’s not password protected. Obviously, the first step in securing your network is requiring password authentication. This is standard on many routers already.

But one important step to deterring likely unwanted connections is to name your network something unappealing, intimidating, or unfamiliar. Variations of “Malware” and “Virus” are good choices, as they resemble the names of unwanted software typically used to hack computers.

Another way to go at this is to type a random string of characters as if the name is computer generated as in, “13d;j43fadoi.” This will give the appearance of a non-human element, making people think the network is a dubious one. “The Johnson Family” is way too nice of a name. It’ll attract attention and most people will think, “Oh, these people don’t really understand what they’re doing. I’ll just steal off their network.”

A sure-fire way to protect your network from strangers is to just make it “hidden.” That way, only people who actually know the name of the Wi-Fi network can find it. Whatever you do, take precautions. The cost of your Wi-Fi network is usually determined by how much you use it. And when you have strangers using your Wi-Fi, it can lead to many unwanted fees.

Topics to Discuss with Potential RoommateYou don’t really know people until you live with them. These five topics will help you determine, beforehand, whether a potential roommate will be a good fit for you.

Cleaning

Many people are okay, and sometimes don’t even notice, living in a mess they’ve made themselves. Dishes could be stacked to the ceiling, the floors unswept for days. But you won’t notice at all if you’re never home or if you play video games constantly. Living with another person can really open your eyes to some of your messiest habits. Ask your potential roommate what he/she thinks a clean home looks like.

Allergies

Do you spread peanut butter all over your countertop by using it as a plate for your peanut butter sandwich? Do you have cats? Now is the time to understand if your potential roommate has allergies and what kinds of changes in lifestyle it might entail for you.

Typical Schedule

If you work early hours, you probably won’t enjoy the company of a roommate who parties all night with Call of Duty. You probably won’t like his nightly guitar practices, either. Ask about your potential roommate’s typical week and weekend. You might be surprised. And, if you’re not, so much the better.

Visitors

Whether you are introverted and remain aloof for large portions of the day, or extroverted and enjoy the company of many people, the type of people you enjoy hanging out with might not be the type of people your potential roommate socializes with. Ask your potential roommate how often guests will stop by.

Sharing

Will you split the food bill? Will your Ramen be his Ramen? These are things you should decide beforehand. If you don’t want to share your things with your roommate, let that be known. But don’t wait until move-in day. Set expectations at your initial meeting.

questions to ask before signing the leaseWhen you’re apartment searching, don’t schedule visits without preparing some questions first. Here are five general questions to get you ready for your next visit.

Fees

Ask what costs are included in rent and what aren’t. Are utilities included? Water? What about a recycling option? It’s also useful to know how often rent increases and by what percentage. Some apartment complexes increase rent by a certain percentage every year. How will you access the internet? Does the property provide it or are there local options?

Guests

Is there a limitation to the amount of guests that can visit at once? Where can they park? Will they need parking permits? Friends and family are important. Get to know the policies so you won’t be in the dark when they visit.

Pets

What kind of pets are allowed? Are there limitations on breed or restrictions on weight? Must they be house trained before they’re allowed on the premises? Many properties won’t allow untrained pets. So it’s good to have an idea before you decide to go out and buy a puppy.

Repairs

How often are repairs taken care of? What is the normal procedure for submitting a repair request? How do you follow through on repair requests? Maybe once a year you might need to submit a repair request. You’ll rest easy knowing what that looks like.

Parking

You’ll have to park somewhere. Ask about whether the parking lot is generally full, when it’s the busiest, and if you’ll need a parking permit. That way, if the parking is scarce, you can plan ahead.

These questions should give you a general idea of whether the apartment is a good fit for you. But if any specific questions come to mind, don’t be afraid to ask. That’s what property managers are there for!