How To Maintain Your Home to Keep Homeowners Insurance From Increasing

ID-10040226When travel through your neighborhood, it is easy to see which homes are being maintained and which are not. It’s simple to find homes that are run down, their lawn is overgrown, missing shingles from the roof a boarded up window. Some of these homes may be foreclosures that have been on the market for sometime and not selling.  Maintained homes aren’t perfect, fresh paint can do wonders for a nice looking home and clean windows, no overgrown trees or hedges shows the homeowner cares about their property.

Seasonal maintenance of your home helps to retain its value and prevent problems in the future. Some repairs can help keep your Homeowners Insurance policy from increasing since they include reducing safety issues such as fires or broken plumbing.

It’s helpful to keep a checklist of what you must do to maintain your home:

Check the batteries in your smoke detectors. When we change the clocks for daylight savings time we also change out the battery in our smoke detector.

Have a Pre Maintenance check for your  air conditioning system at least once a year by a professional.  A good running air conditioning system saves your money on your energy bill.

Check your doors and windows for to see if they close properly or if they need to be re-sealed. (This also can help lower your energy bill if there are leaks.)

Ask a professional how often your septic system needs to be cleaned out.

Take a walk on your roof and check the gutters, vents and roof tiles. If you see any damage address it immediately. If you are not sure what to look for or question anything, contact a professional roofer to help you out.

Inspect your walkway and driveway and repair any cracks or holes. Any injury caused by this is your liability.

Remove and clear any tree branches that hang over your home or your neighbor’s home.

Remove anything that can be caught up by the wind during hurricane season and store it indoors.

At least once a year have a Termites inspection.

Check the expiration date on fire extinguishers and replace them as needed. Put the expiration dates on your calendar as a reminder.

Inspect your attic for openings and if you need to restore or replace installation.

When using professional services, be sure to do a background check to see if the person or company hiring them out is licensed and certified to do the work you have hired them to do. Another thing to look out for is workers’ compensation insurance. If a worker in your home is injured, they will most likely be covered under their policy or the company that is hiring them out to you.

If they don’t have worker’s compensation, they can sue you. That means you’ll be using your Homeowners Insurance policy to cover their claim.

Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Love To Throw Parites? Make Money As A Party Planner

housewarming partyThe holidays are just around the corner and many people will be having parties or attending. If you love plan parties  from the guest list to adding the last touch to make your parties extra special, why not get paid for it.

Put your organization skills to work and coordinate an event that will stand out. There are many types of parties: Holiday, Birthday, Baby Showers, Weddings, Office, reunions, anniversaries and the list goes on.

You can start by volunteering to help a friend with a Church group event, school event or even a backyard over the top BBQ. This will give you an idea of how other people plan good or not so good and what you may do differently. Your style will stand out and people attending the party may want you to do one for them. Word of mouth is still one of the best forms of advertising, so be sure to have business cards on hand.

From your choices of themes, food and customer service, you can be known for your expertise. Start with a small group for say a bridal shower,  baby shower or birthday. There are many things that are already on hand to choose from for your theme.

The key to success is organization and being able to network with many people for different party’s. This means you will want to bring in florist, caterers, rental companies for chairs, tables etc.  If you want to just be the expert for Baby Showers or Weddings you can stay focused on that and still do very well.

Get Your Name Out There

Once you have added a few parties to your resume, (including the ones you volunteered for) get your name out there. Order business cards (VistaPrint.com offers a great deal for first time business cards) then build a website or blog to add to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

You do not have to have a degree to be a party planner but a few courses in management, money management would be good for the business side.

Have a list of everything you need that you can check off from start to finish. Head on over to The Tip Junkie where she has 11 Free Printable Party Planners and idea’s!

 

Call us today to get your questions answered. 863-453-3903

or visit our website budgetbirite.com fill out the form and we will have an agent contact you within 24 hours.

We find insurance that meets every budget!
Ask us about deductibles as low as $100.00
.

Ashley Bishop Owner/Agent

Budget Bi Rite Insurance, Inc

Serving all of Florida

 

 


How To Prepare Your Children for a Hurricane

hurricanefloridaHurricanes can be very scary, wind howling, rain, and the possibilities of Tornado’s. We prepare the best we can, keeping a chart of the on coming storm, getting in supplies and making sure there is enough water for the days when there will be no electricity and possibly no drinking water.

Your children should be a part of your preparations. Let them know about how a hurricane works in a basic way they will understand depending on their age and always assure them that they can be safe.

Depending on the strength of the storm and what type of home you live in, you may be required to go to a shelter. Uprooting your kids, and then taking them to an unfamiliar place can be stressful for you and them. Prepare them ahead of time by packing a special suitcase or backpack with their clothes and special toys, coloring books, or stuffed animal they are attached to and let them know they are going to a safe place from the storm. Even if you do not have to leave, you and your children are prepared to go quickly.

If you are staying in your home during a hurricane, let them know that their lives after the hurricane may be disrupted. The TV, video game machines etc, will not be accessible to them because there will be no electricity. Think ahead and have them help you prepare a space in a room, or table with books, paper, crayons, craft supplies for small projects, puzzles, cards, etc. It would be a good idea to have them do the grocery shopping with you to and have special treats to look forward to. They will also see that shopping for a storm is different then your normal grocery list.

With the storm approaching, have them sit with you and listen to the storm updates, and follow the storm on a chart. Ask them if they have any questions about the storm and what fears they may have. Addressing these fears with them and letting them know that you are there for them will be less stress on them.

Once an alert is issued for your area, you may not be able to purchase or change a policy.

Call us today to get your questions answered. 863-453-3903

or visit our website budgetbirite.com fill out the form and we will have an agent contact you within 24 hours.


How To Prepare Food Safely in the Kitchen

ID-10093278The heart of the home it has been said is the Kitchen.  This is the place for many, who have waited for Mom to make their favorite dish and the family can gather to talk and enjoy a good meal or Mom’s famous cookies. The Kitchen is also the place where practicing safety is essential. Here are some tips:

Handle with Care

If you have ever worked in a professional kitchen or a meat department, you know that a chef or butcher keep their knives very sharp and some even have a set of knives they alone only use. Why are sharp knives so important? A sharp knife will not slip as easily as a dull one especially if you are cutting a tomato or a food item that has a slippery surface. A sharp knife does not need as much pressure to cut and you have a better control over the blade.

When using a knife practice safe cutting techniques. If you are a beginner cook, start off slowly and carefully with your cutting. Not sure of what the safe techniques of using a knife are, take a class or ask a professional. There are many different sizes and shapes for knives because each one does a number of things for the purpose of boning a fish, slicing vegetables to cutting bread.  Learning what your knives are for will help you to use them more efficiently. Here are a few tips that are helpful.

Always cut away from you body

Use a cutting board that does not slip, you can put a towel under the board or purchase one that is made not to slip.

When cutting a round piece of food like a carrot, carefully cut a sliver down one side so it will lay flat on the cutting board.

Keep the knife clean knife and that includes the handle. A greasy or slippery handle can cause you to slip and possibly have an accident.

Never, never put a knife in a sink full of dish water. You could forget it is there or another person not knowing it is there could grab the sharp blade and be injured. When cleaning, always keep the sharp edge away from you and handle carefully.

A reflex to grab something that is falling is in all of us. Do Not Grab a falling knife. Let it go to the ground and get out of the way to avoid it landing on your feet.

Grease Fires

For and foremost, every home should have a fire extinguisher. It should be kept in a cool dry place in the kitchen or near an exit/entrance in/out of the kitchen. A fire extinguisher should never be kept near the stove or other heat source. Make sure it is kept updated and you know how to use it.

Would you know what to do if you have a grease fire on your stove? The first thing you Do Not Want To Do is put water on a grease fire. Oil and water do not mix and you will make the fire spread.  If the fire is contained to the pot or pan you are cooking with, put a lid on it and turn off the burner. Wait until the pot or pan is cooled down before handling. Get more information on how to handle a grease fire on your stove… .

Fires can also start in your microwave and oven. If you have a fire in either, do  not open the door. Fire loves oxygen and this will feed the fire. Turn off the appliance, keep the door closed and watch for the fire to burn out. Any time you feel that you cannot contain a fire and it is getting out of control, get outside and call for help. See more about containing an oven fire here…

What You Wear Matters

Wearing clothes that will not interfere and catch fire. Example: long sleeve shirts and open shoes. Long loose sleeves could catch fire or get into the hot food your cooking. Drop a knife, hot food or something that is scalding and your could injure your legs and feet. Closed shoes can help prevent these type of accidents. Also its a good idea if you have long hair, to pull it up, no one likes to find a strand of hair in their meal.

Oven Mitts

Oven Mitts need to be away from the stove top and the sink. Near the stove top and they can catch fire. Near a sink and they could get wet. You use a wet Oven Mitt to get a hot pan out of the oven, or a pot off the stove and your going to get burned. Keep them in a drawer or hang them somewhere accessible but safe.

Spills and Falls

Make sure to clean up all spills on the floor immediately. Falls can happen easily and it would be terrible to fall with a scalding pot of sauce. Have rugs that stick to the floor and not slip and slide. Keep floors clutter free of clutter to avoid tripping or falling.

Stove Top Safety

When cooking on the stove top keep the pots handles turned in so you do not accidentally knock one over. Be careful when lifting lids from a boiling or simmering pot, as the steam will be very hot and could scald your arms. Never cook with a child or baby in your arms over the stove top, they could get scalded as well.  Keep your stove top free of any aprons, dish towels, packages from food products or anything that could catch fire. Keep your cooking area as clean as you can, especially when cooking with grease.

Clean Appliances Carefully

Blenders, Food Processors and any appliance with a sharp blade should be turned off before touching the blades and careful when cleaning. If you can take apart the blade section do so and put into your dishwasher.

Never leave what you are cooking unattended. If you have to answer the phone or the door, or your going to be away from the kitchen for any amount of time, turn off the burner. It is easy to get distracted and stay away longer then you thought would and this could potentially lead to burning or over cooking your meal.

Cooking With Kids

When cooking with kids, safety comes first. Depending on their age, give them easy things to do away from the stove. Have them sit at a counter or table in your kitchen and stir a cake mix or make a salad. Wait until they are of an age that they can understand how to handle utensils in the kitchen or to cook hot food before moving on.  Never, never leave a child unattended in the kitchen.

Pets in the Kitchen

Pets safety in the kitchen also on the top of the list. Depending on the size of your dog, little ones can get under foot and cause an accident to you and them. Larger dogs could possibly pull food off the counter, and if its hot that is not good for the dog who does not know better.  You may want to consider keeping your pet out of the kitchen while you are cooking to avoid an accident.

 

 

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net

 


How To Throw a Housewarming Party

housewarming partyMoved into a new home or apartment to upgrading a new landscape or even refurnished your abode, is a great reason to throw a housewarming party. Invite your family and friends for cocktail or a buffet and just have fun.  The more organized your are the easier and more fun you will have, here are some steps to help you out.

Week Before: Pick the day of the party and put your list of guest together. Send out the invites with RSVP. The RSVP will let you know how many people may attend and how much food and drinks you will need. Add a theme to your invitation like, We dug a hole in the ground and added a Pool,  Come see our new Landscaping or just Refurnished the house, come and sit a spell. This will give your guest an idea of what small gift to bring you.  Pool party, pool toys or big towels. Redecorated the kitchen,  small gadgets for cooking or a new cookbook. Garden party, plants or garden signs or garden decorations.

2 Days Before – Once you have your RSVP’s, take inventory of what you will be serving (for a causal and easy party cocktails and appetizers) and get together the dishes, crock pots for keeping dips warm, etc.  Set up your buffet with plates, napkins, cups, wine glasses, plastic-ware or silverware and any decorations to go with your theme.  This would also be a good time to clean your home and plan your menu.

Day Before – put your list of groceries together for the buffet. Keep your menu simple and delicious with an assortment of finger foods and have both alcohol and non alcohol drinks available.

The Day of– Get Cooking and Assembling. If you are having your party in the evening, choose recipes that you can make up ahead of time and just pop into the oven for a quick heat up or add to a crock pot. Last thing you want is to be stuck in the kitchen instead of enjoying the party.

Need Appetizer ideas? Check out these below.

Lara Spencer’s Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Dip – as seen on the Rachael Ray talk show

Bacon and Spinach Mini Quiche Appetizer– these are so easy to make and a big hit!

 BLT Stuffed Tomatoes

Instant Party Mix

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

Green Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Skewered Shrimp Teriyaki Kabobs Recipe

Strawberry Daiquiri Cocktail Recipe – This can be made with or without Rum

Enjoy!

Call us today to get your Insurance questions answered. 863-453-3903

or visit our website budgetbirite.com fill out the form and we will have an agent contact you within 24 hours.

We find insurance that meets every budget!

We are now offering Health Insurance.

Ashley Bishop Owner/Agent

Budget Bi Rite Insurance, Inc

Serving All of Florida

 

 Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net