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The 3 Important Steps to Manage Your Finances Better

Sometimes, managing your money can be complicated. To budget your income well, you need to simplify the processes and you can keep your financial habits secure and your expenditure straightforward.

Here, we share to you three important steps to keep your spending organized.

1. Keep track of your finances
First of all, know where your money goes in order to budget it properly. Make use of some apps, your computer’s MS Excel or an accounting book to help you keep track of your spending.

Keep a weekly, monthly or even yearly record, so you know how much money you usually spend on a certain expense. Write down your income per month and deduct from that amount your fixed expenses like the mortgage and utility bills. Then, subtract the amount you want to put onto your savings from what remained from what remained. The amount of money you get after your savings is deducted is how much you can spend on personal expenses.

2. Evaluate the things you’re spending your money on
Evaluate every expense and determine which of those are necessary and while are worthwhile in the long run.
Rethink how you do your everyday activities. Do you often waste gas or transport fare by doing repeated trips to the same place on different days when you can just group the errands together in one spot all on the same day?
Do you really have to buy that expensive pair of shoes or just say no because you don’t really need another one to add to your collection of footwear?

Think hard about how and where you can cut corners so you can prioritize more important expenditure and more meaningful needs.

Ask yourself whether it’s really important and something that you need every time you are about to make a pricey purchase. Also, if you already have a family, ask yourself what’s more important. Perhaps, not the material things, but rather experiences and memories that will strengthen your family ties. So, instead of buying your kids the latest gadgets, save up for a vacation by planning your finances wisely.

3. Plan for unexpected expenses
It is smart to be always prepared and have a buffer in times of emergencies. Emergency funds should always be a part of any financial plan. Regardless of the situation, as much as possible, never touch your emergency funds, instead let it sit in the bank and earn interest. If something unexpected came up, such as losing your job, an accident or an unexpected expense like a family member got sick or your car broke, this is the time when you can take money from it.

Being able to manage your finances will make your life so much easier. Being organized will save you time and from potential headaches in the future.

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Get to Know the Important Tools to Have for Oil Painting

If you’ve always wanted to try out painting in oils but don’t know where to start, there’s no need to fret. With just a little know-how and the right tools, you’ll be able to get a good understanding on how each tool lends itself to the process.

Here are the most important tools you need to have to get started in oil painting:

Paint (including palette, brushes, solvent, and gesso)
What’s painting without the paint? Ideally, you want to have the basic colors down, and you can simply buy individual tubes for the basic colors and buy more paints over time.

Brushes are also important as the paint, but you don’t need to break the bank buying every single one – and they don’t need to be high quality either.

Solvent is used for breaking down the oil and make the paint more fluid, while gesso is what you prime your painting surface with to make the paint stick.

Easel and Canvas (or any other painting surface)
You can paint with oils on pretty much any surface that’s flat and will hold. This includes concrete walls, wood, and even stretched canvas over a wooden frame. As long as you prime the surface with gesso beforehand, you’re ready to go!

When it comes to wood planks or stretched canvas, having an easel will certainly help if the piece you’re working on is particularly small, as it keeps you from having to hunch constantly and strain your back.

Comfortable clothes (that you won’t mind being getting paint on)
Paint (and painting) is messy! While an apron will help a lot to keep paint from getting on your clothes, there’s still a good chance that you’ll get paint on your clothes, and while oil paint takes a long time to dry, it can also be difficult to remove.

Wearing more comfortable clothes will not only save you from having to keep your good clothes laundered for stains, but they also allow you to focus more on your painting by not being too tight or loose.

Oil
While your paint already contains a little bit of oil, you still need to add extra oil to adjust its thickness and consistency to your liking.

Unlike solvents, which are used primarily as paint thinners (they are also different from mineral spirits), oil isn’t used to thin the paint. Instead, they’re used to slow the drying time and make it more transparent, which makes it better for glazing.

Mineral Spirits
With oil painting, you clean your brushes in mineral spirits (different mixtures of odorless mineral spirits are now more widely used, since they’re much safer to handle than turpentine) instead of water or solvent.

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Good or Bad: What Salt Actually Does to Your Body

Sodium chloride, or table salt, is a vital component in the human body needed for both fluid balance as well as to keep the nerves and muscles functioning normally.

In fact, having too little sodium in the body (hyponatrmia) has been linked to symptoms of dizziness, muscle twitches, and even seizures. The amount of sodium in the body is severely diluted in this case, and if you’re older, these symptoms can be more severe.

However, having too much sodium also gives you all kinds of health problems, from kidney stones to high blood pressure.

How Your Body Regulates Sodium
Sodium is regulated by the kidneys, which do this by removing excess fluid from the blood in order to dilute it. This process helps to retain normal blood pressure, and the by-product is removed from the body as urine.

Sodium is also used as an electrolyte and pairs with potassium to carry, or “pump”, electrical impulses throughout nerve cells and muscles alike. The former is pumped out of cells, while the latter is pumped in, which creates the electrical charge and transmission.

The Dangers of Too Much Salt
Just like most things, salt should be consumed in moderation and too much sodium in your body can have the following effects on your body:

• Higher blood pressure – The more sodium you have in your body, the more your body will try to use up more water to dilute the sodium. This results in having more water in your body, which in turn raises your blood pressure.

• Higher chance of kidney stones – A higher sodium content in your body also means that your kidneys will be strained. Once this accumulates in unhealthy amounts, you increase your risk of getting kidney stones.

• Higher risk of heart attack – Diabetics should especially be on the lookout to make sure they don’t consume too much salt, since it easily doubles the threat of cardiovascular disease.

Sodium is definitely essential, but the good news is there’s no need to worry too much about getting too much or not enough.

In fact, the ideal amount of sodium that you should consume daily is about 2,300 milligrams for healthy adults, and 1,500 milligrams for those with high blood pressure. In fact, most foods you see in supermarkets today contain a significant amount of sodium that can easily exceed the daily recommended amount.

While there are a lot of reasons to cut down on salt and use less of it in your cooking, you can still use it to add flavor to your dishes however you’d like. As long as you maintain a healthy, balance diet, you should be fine.

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What You Need to Know About Recessed Lighting for Your Home

Also known as can lights or downlights, recessed lights are metal housings usually installed above the ceiling line, and are generally not visible except for the thin trim and part of the inner baffle.

While they do need extensive ceiling wiring, their junction boxes allow light-to-light connections, which means that you only need to run one cable instead of several.

Trim and Baffles
The most visible sections of recessed lighting come with their own moving parts:

• Trim – This fits flat onto the ceiling and into the housing itself, and can either be made of plastic or metal.

• Baffles – These can either direct or reflect the light depending on their shaped. For instance, ridged baffles direct light downward to prevent side reflection, while reflective baffles extend the light’s diameter.
These two parts both make the light what it is, and everything else around the light is simply made out of formed sheet metal.

Why You Want Them
Here’s why you might want to have recessed lighting for your home:

• You don’t see the fixtures – The strongest advantage of ceiling recessed lights is their ability to hide and not appear to take up much space compared to other types of light fixtures.

• You have a low ceiling – When it comes to rooms with low ceilings, recessed lighting is a great way to keep fixtures from grazing people’s heads or sticking out visually, which creates the illusion of more space.

• Complete room coverage – When aligned the right way, recessed lights can completely light up a room much better than an ordinary light fixture.

• Waterproof – This feature is especially great for the most water-intensive environments of your home.

The Best Places to Use Recessed Lighting
The following places in your home, whether it’s an HDB flat or condo unit, will definitely benefit the best from having recessed lighting:

• Kitchen – Since recessed lights are directional, they will be great for kitchen task lights when cooking.

• Shower stalls – Water-intensive environments can mean disaster for light fixtures since droplets can splash and damage the light bulbs, but with recessed lighting, this doesn’t have to be an issue.

• Rooms with low ceilings – If you have a smaller space and want to get as much of it back as possible, you will definitely want to invest in them.

Because recessed lighting can come in different configurations, it’s important that you pay attention to where you plan on directing your light.

If you’re not sure about the location for your hidden fixtures, the best way to do it is by asking your electrician on where it should be installed in your ceiling.

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How to Repair Loose Recessed Lights that Keep Falling Down

While recessed lights are especially great in low-ceiling environments, getting them to stay in place can sometimes take a lot more work than what you would initially expect.

Some clips can work pretty well and hold the light bulb (and its fixture) in place. However, when two or more clips fail to provide the adequate support, your recessed light will start to hang down.

The good news is that there is one permanent way to fix your recessed light, and you can do it by following these steps:

1. Find a heavy-duty staple gun
The first step to any repair is in finding the right tools, and with a recessed light, you only need one – a heavy-duty staple gun.

This is because there isn’t much to most recessed light fixtures other than thin sheet metal, wiring, and a lamp base, and that its structure is more likely to weaken the more you try to mess around with it.

With a heavy-duty staple gun, you can make a quick, decisive fix that will keep your lights in place.

2. Jam staple in the recessed light housing
Inside the ceiling plenum, the clips that secure your light are supposed to move upward at first before moving downward, with four of them working in total to hold your fixture in place.

The clip will lock in place when it’s properly engaged. However, if the clip rattles, then it means it’s not doing what it’s supposed to.

There are a few types of repairs usually recommended for this:

• Bending – Bending the clips outward can help them better engage when pushed into place.

• Rapping – Sharply rapping the clip once with a small, heavy object can fix it. However, if rapping it once will not fix it, then neither will any subsequent rapping.

• Jamming – Another method to securing the clips is by keeping them in place with small items jammed between them and the light housing, and this is where the staple gun comes in.

3. Staple between the clip and the housing
Adjust the staple gun and fire the staple in a way that one “leg” of the staple itself is jammed between both the clip and the housing. The other leg will bend over to form an arm to secure the whole clip.

Alternatively, you can also puncture the housing using a staple leg, and it will hold in place because the housing itself is made of weaker material than the staple used to keep it in place.

Once your recessed lights are secure, they should be best left alone – the more you fiddle with them, the weaker they will get. At best, they have a lifespan of one or two re-stapling procedures before you need to replace the housing with a new one.