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Décor trends you could try

Following decor trends can help you create a stylish, chic and welcoming vibe in your home. There are some styles that are easy to follow and can be quickly adapted to suit the decor needs of your house. Some of these can be modified to reflect the quirky elements of your personality in a seamless manner.

One of the major surface trends this year is the reclaimed, rustic wood. These are cheaper than natural ones and can literally transform your home — be it the kitchen, bedroom or the living area. Using brass finishes for light fixtures, furniture and gadgets, is another trend that is popular.

Cork, an eco-friendly material has shown up in home ware and in home decor accessories. Concrete and cork are being used in unusual ways. Following are a few more trends that you could incorporate in your home…

Bring in the greens

Very few Mumbaiites can actually boast of a garden at home. Well one of the biggest trends this year is about bringing the outside, inside, by creating your tiny garden in a glass container. Terrariums are a cool easy way to green up your homes.

Classical elegance

This is about classical themes and sophistication, with baroque design elements incorporated in home decor, thereby enriching the interiors.

Unpainted, untreated walls

This look is surely not for traditionalists and the faint-hearted. The industrial look of plastered walls looks chic. Exposed brick walls are a big trend.

Cluster lights

Use a cluster of naked lights to get a contemporary look to your home decor.

Nature prints

Add some prints like the palm and Swiss cheese plant to your cushion covers, framed wall hanging to usher in this trend at home.

Tropical calm

Injecting a warm touch of the tropics to your home with large leaf prints on cushion covers, wallpapers, wall decoration, upholstery and other objects will lend a relaxed, fresh feel to your decor. Bringing nature in any form, even digital prints helps in stress reduction and contributes to emotional well-being.

Ethnic yet cool decor elements

Ethnic designs are in focus once again as a global trend. This decor trend plays a key role with textured wallpapers, pattern mixing and wooden furniture. The ambience can be complemented beautifully with valued objects.

The vintage look

The ever popular vintage look takes a delicate, sophisticated turn with much softer colours and a lot of extremely exhaustive patterns. Distressed furniture with an old-worldly look can nail the look.

Going Monochrome

Playful, fun and full of passion —the contemporary decor trend is about using a monochrome palette. Geometric designs rock the interior scene and are being used across objects — be it the carpet, cushion cover, upholstery, wallpaper, wall clock faces and more.

Statement headboard

Upholstered statement headboards are a hot trend in the design world right now. Your bedroom can get the wow factor and this will also add a majestic charm to the decor.

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Tips for monsoon gardening

Several main roads and at least one home in Nogales, Arizona, were flooded Thursday afternoon.

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Is your lawn stressed? Here’s what you should know about watering in hot summertime

These July weeks can be the hottest of the year. Tree and plant roots are not always able to take up enough water to compensate for the moisture lost by transpiration through their leaves. Low humidity, long days, shorter hot nights and high temperatures can cause wilting, leaf scorch and plant death even when the soil is kept evenly moist.

Wilting is the first sign of heat stress in plants. Cool-season lawn grasses develop a bluish hue and foot imprints remain visible for several minutes in lawns that are stressed by high temperatures. Branch tip dieback and early leaf fall are symptoms of heat stress in mature landscape trees, but those symptoms may not be visible for several weeks after severe heat stress.


All automatic irrigation timers should be reset in July. Bermuda and other warm-season lawns will require 85 minutes of irrigation per week on average; fescue and other cool-season lawns need approximately 113 minutes.

Watering times for lawns and planting beds depend on soil type and irrigation methods. Clay soils hold water longer than sandy soils and well-amended soils hold water better than non-amended soils.

Planting beds that are covered by a three- to four-inch layer of mulch will lose 70 percent less water from evaporation during hot spells. Plants watered by a single drip emitter or overhead sprinklers will need more irrigation time than those watered by multiple emitters, soaker hoses, micro sprinklers or bubblers. Plants with similar irrigation requirements should be grouped together in the same irrigation zones to ensure that every plant receives the optimum amount of water.

Citrus, fruit and nut trees will need deep irrigation every three to four days during the hottest spells-when the top 3 to 4 inches of soil has dried; mature landscape trees should be deep irrigated at least monthly during the hot summer months. Deep slow irrigation over a period of several hours will soak the trees’ root system which usually lie about a foot deep right underneath the tree canopy.

Container plants, especially those in smaller pots or barrels, might need daily hand watering, even twice a day when temperatures rise above 100 degrees. The soil inside containers quickly dries out during hot weather and the containers themselves conduct heat to plants’ roots, especially when placed in full sun on hard, hot surfaces. Placing your container plants on a raised platform or on saucers with wheels allows for a cooling air flow under the containers. Consider moving container plants into full shade under trees, eaves or patio arbors for the next few weeks. Take care of container plants that require full sun – the long summer days of 12 to 14 hours is too much even for these plants. They may not grow well or produce flowers in the shade, but they will have a better chance of survival.

Master Gardeners – The lawn watering times provided above come from the Fresno County Master Gardeners’ “A Gardeners’ Companion for the San Joaquin Valley.” The guide was compiled and written by our local Master Gardeners and gives detailed gardening information specific to our hot, dry climate. The third edition is now is available; call the Master Gardener hotline at 559-241-7534 or check the MG website,, for more information.

Send Elinor Teague plant questions at

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Tips for capturing better photos of your garden and wildlife

The garden you planted or enjoy each day is flowering. Birds and animals are busy in your yard or neighborhood. And you’d love to capture all this natural beauty in photos.

It’s so easy these days to pull out a phone and take pictures of anything anytime, but a little time and thought can produce better garden and wildlife photos.

“There’s a big difference between that for-the-record shot that preserves a memory and getting a really nice image,” says Brenda Tharp, author of the new book “Expressive Nature Photography” (The Monacelli Press).

Pause before pressing the shutter, she says, and consider: Is the light right? Can you give your photo a unique point of view by shooting from different angles and levels, moving to the side, crouching or standing on something?

Try to identify what it is about the subject matter that “stopped you in your tracks,” she says. “It’s really about narrowing down your purpose in making that picture.”

Some tips from Tharp and other nature photographers:

Rule of thirds

Resist the temptation to center the subject, suggests Rob Simpson, an instructor in nature photography at Lord Fairfax College in Middletown, Va. Think of your photo as a tic-tac-toe board, and place the subject in one of the off-center thirds of the space. “It’s going to make the photo more pleasing to the eye,” he said. “It gives it balance.”

Texture is terrific

One of the most exciting things about photographing flowers and leaves is capturing something that passersby won’t see — their textures up-close, says Patty Hankins, a floral photographer in Bethesda, Md., who sells her work and offers photography tips at

A camera’s “macro” setting lets you take an extreme close-up and keep it in focus. “It shows you all these incredible things that people who aren’t stopping to look won’t see,” she says. “It’s about filling the frame with small details.”

Staying still

When using the macro setting, keep the camera as still as possible, Hankins says. “If you’re taking a picture of the Grand Canyon and your hand shakes a little, people aren’t likely to notice,” she said. “But if you’re taking a photo of the center of a sunflower, they’re much more likely to see it.”

A tripod can help. Look for one that is lightweight and can get low to ground, she says. If you don’t own a tripod, find somewhere solid to place the camera or set it on a bean bag or bag of rice on the ground, and use the timer to take the photo. Many cameras also have settings designed to reduce vibrations.

Perimeter control

Before you shoot, scan the edges of your picture for buildings, outdoor furniture or other things that could distract from your subject.

Light matters

Often, outdoor photos come out better on cloudy days or when the sun is not directly overhead, Simpson says. The soft light that comes through on an overcast day will not cast harsh shadows, and may result in a more even exposure and better details.

“People love sunlight, but it’s not the right light for every subject,” Tharp says. “For intimate views of nature, opt for soft or diffused light.”

For landscape photos, however, sunlight can add drama. Consider shooting in the warm light found in early morning or late afternoon when the angle of the sun is low.

Think 3-D

Having items in a picture’s foreground and background helps put the viewer in the photo and creates a sense of depth, Tharp says. When taking a photo of a meadow or landscape, include objects closer to the camera as well.

Another way to create dimension is to angle the camera downward a bit, emphasizing the foreground and creating that near-far relationship.

Animal action

The best animal photos reveal the subject’s behavior or personality, Tharp says. Take time to observe the animals and wait for the best shot. But be ready to capture the action when it happens. Keep the animal’s eye in focus.

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Home and garden events July 22 and beyond – The Courier


Children in the Dell. Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, 6220 Old LaGrange Road, Crestwood, 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturdays through Aug. 26. The classes gives children ages 5-12 a chance to spend some time in the garden. Topics include planting and growing veggies, nature-inspired scavenger hunts and more. Parents must stay on the grounds and are invited to participate in the day’s activities. Preregistration encouraged, drop-ins welcome as space allows. Free with regular admission.

Homearama Poplar Woods. Oldham County, through July 30 (5-9:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday; 1-6 p.m. Sunday). Nine custom-built homes fully furnished, decorated, landscaped and featuring the latest in building trends, technology and interior design. Visitors can tour the homes and meet the local builders, interior designers and suppliers of the variety of home products featured. Tickets are sold on site at the Homearama entrance tent. $10, $15 for a two-day pass; free for ages 12 and younger. For more information,

Fourth Fairy Fun Thursday. Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, 6220 Old LaGrange Road, Crestwood, 6 p.m. Thursday, July 27. Hands-on opportunity to get acquainted with fairy garden life and its creatures. Free with regular admission. 502-241-4788.

Superhero Plants Insects: What’s in Your Garden? Louisville Free Public Library, Highlands/Shelby Park Branch, 1250 Bardstown Road, 2 p.m. Friday, July 28. The Jefferson County Master Gardeners will have a show and tell of plants and insects with superhero traits, camouflage, night vision, shape-shifting and more. Participants will also create a simple craft. For ages 5-12. Free. To register call, 502-574-1672.

Planting Seeds Indoors for Fall Louisville Free Public Library, Portland Branch, 3305 Northwestern Parkway, 1 p.m. July 29. Learn about growing seedling plants for a fall garden, the various types of fall crops, their planting dates, containers, lighting, soil and maintenance. Free. 502-574-1744.

In The Garden: Pollinators A Plenty. Jefferson County Master Gardener June Sandercock will describe pollinator behavior, desirable plants and other garden elements to welcome and nurture pollinators, 9 a.m. July 29. After the short program, participants can see many of these plants in her garden. RSVP is required. Call, 216-8950 or email

Superhero Plants Insects: What’s In Your Garden? Louisville Free Public Library, Shawnee Branch, 3912 W. Broadway, 1 p.m. Aug. 1. Join the Jefferson County Master Gardeners for a show and tell of plants and insects with superhero traits. For ages 5-12. Free. 502-574-1722.

Bernheim First Sunday Nature Hike. Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Clermont, 2 p.m. Aug. 6. $5 per car. 502-955-8512.


Gardening at the Shively Library. Louisville Free Public Library, Shively Branch, 3920 Dixie Highway, 9 a.m. July 31. Learn gardening tips and tricks working in raised beds. Topic: how to identify beneficial critters, how to garden without weed and how to get rid of garden pets naturally. Free. 502-574-1730.

Email items to Deadline for next Saturday’s column is noon Tuesday.7

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Master gardening: Deadheading for bonus blooms






A small space doesn’t mean you don’t have options when it comes to gardening. With these tips, all you’ll need is your green thumb! Keleigh Nealon (@keleighnealon) has the story!

Summer may be half over but our flowering annuals and perennials still have a big show to put on.

Deadheading, or removing spent blooms as they fade, is an essential summer chore if you want to keep your garden looking its best. It helps extend the blooming season and directs a plant’s energy into flowers and foliage rather than seed.

MORE: An ideal time for pruning trees

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A plant’s goal in life is to reproduce itself, and making seeds takes a lot of energy. Simply put, if you remove the faded or dead flowers before they go to seed, new ones are encouraged to grow. By midseason, many of your plants become overgrown, gangly and just plain messy looking. A good cleanup, beginning with a good deadheading, will bring new life to your garden.

Flowering annuals such as zinnias, marigolds, cosmos and petunias respond by pumping out fresh blooms from spring through autumn. The same is true for the flowering period of certain perennial plants like foxglove, columbine, and lavender. Some other perennials that benefit from deadheading are Shasta daisy, bee balm, speedwell, yarrow and coneflower. Not all perennials will continue to bloom after deadheading, but many look better as a result. The single-flowering day lily is just one example.

MORE: Maintaining a mindful lawn

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Before you grab your pruners, make sure you know the correct way to deadhead the spent flowers. Proper deadheading removes the entire flower head. Choosing the exact point to make a deadheading cut can seem confusing, since perennials have different flower forms. Because deadheading, like other types of pruning, is species specific, it can be difficult to group plants into categories. For most plants, however, all you need to remember is to prune spent flowers and stems back to a point where there’s a new lateral flower or bud. If no new flower is apparent, prune the stem back to a lateral leaf. If you only snip off the petals but leave the immature seed pod behind, your flowers won’t re-bloom. Just be careful not to remove any flowering side shoots.

Plants that produce tall flowering spikes are some of the most confusing to deadhead. Flowering begins at the bottom of a spike and continues upward over time, leaving a long, mostly bare stem with a few blooms at it’s top. Hollyhock and larkspur are two plants that produce flowering spikes. In order to deadhead their blooms and similar plants’ flowers, pinch off the lower blooms with your thumb and forefinger as they fade, and prune an entire stem to its base when it is about 70 percent bare.

Some plants such as ornamental grasses, astible, clematis, coneflower, liatris, and sedum produce colorful hips, berries or seeds that attract birds. Some just have interesting dried flower heads that will add to your winter garden. You may not want to deadhead these plants, so you can wait until early spring to trim back if you prefer.

MORE: Master gardening: Here are local resources

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Many gardeners find deadheading enjoyable and relaxing. If you don’t fall into this camp, the best way to keep from feeling overwhelmed is to visit your garden daily and do a little at a time. It also gives you a chance to spot any warning signs of disease on your plants. The waves of blooms in your garden can be extended by weeks or even months.

Rita Potter is a York County Master Gardener. Penn State Master Gardeners are volunteers for Penn State Cooperative Extension. For more information, contact the Master Gardener office at 717-840-7408 or

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No two garden the same at Edelweiss walk – Petoskey News

GAYLORD —Nearly 140 people turned out to enjoy the 2017 Edelweiss Garden Walk last week during Alpenfest. The walk featured local artists, most associated with the Gaylord Area Council for the Arts, working in each garden.

“Despite the unsettled weather, our gardens were radiant,” said Sue Hegarty, co-chair of the event. We think visitors were very pleased with our selection of gardens this year. Each garden was beautiful and colorful but each also had its own unique style. Whether the robust, educational yet playful personality of the native Michigan plants of the Otsego County Demonstration Gardens; the expansive, diverse and magnificently contoured design of the Lappan gardens; the serene, contemplative and restorative aura of Sojourn Lakeside Resort; the flowing and graceful softness of the Flint gardens; or the intimate, creative and personal feel that beckoned visitors to linger in the Noe gardens – no two gardens were the same.”

“Gardening is personal and we all seek to create the peaceful atmosphere a garden offers – large or small, brightly colored plants or subtle shade plants – each is guaranteed to be different. We are very grateful to our garden owners, local artists, volunteers and visitors for participating. They were all simply awesome,” Hegarty concluded.

The Edelweiss Garden Club hosts the annual walk each year during Alpenfest. All proceeds of the walk are used to beautify the community by providing plants and supplies which are used by volunteers at several area gardens, including the Otsego County Courthouse, McCoy Road/Old 27 intersection, Energy Outlet Park at the Otsego County Sportsplex and local rest areas. For more information, see or email

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Seattle kids to discover environmental decision-making, one garden at a time

For Megan Bang, an associate professor at the University of Washington, school gardens are an academic passion, a way to create hands-on science experiences for students, improve their mental health and get them outdoors more often.

For 15 years, she’s worked to make gardens a center of learning and a way to teach responsible environmental decision-making. With the help of a $2.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), she’s now working with Seattle Public Schools and the nonprofit Tilth Alliance to build learning gardens at three schools, as well as creating a new model for an ecosystems curriculum and providing training for teachers.

“We teach kids to understand plant cells and the plant life cycles,” said Bang. “But do we teach them in a way that shows that plant’s relationship to the soil, or to the bugs?”

Many of Seattle’s public schools already have gardens, but most are funded by PTAs, and not all are used as part of classroom lessons, said MaryMargaret Welch, science program manager at Seattle Public Schools.

Education Lab is a Seattle Times project that spotlights promising approaches to persistent challenges in public education. It is produced in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network and is funded by a grant from the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation.

· Find out more about Education Lab  

The new, NSF-funded project, which has a four-year timeline, will focus on kindergarten through third-grade classrooms at Viewlands, Leschi and Maple elementary schools. The schools were chosen because they have significant percentages of low-income students.

In Bang’s view, school gardens can encourage students to think critically about issues like water consumption, biodiversity and energy usage — based on observations they’ve made in the field, like real scientists. For example, students at the three schools may be given the opportunity to design their own gardens based on factors like weather patterns and soil-plant interactions.

“Monitoring real-world resources is complicated, and they’re not easily observable because they’re interconnected. Part of what I’m after is having a citizenry that’s capable of engaging in those real 21st-century problems, ” said Bang.

Parents and teachers will help design the garden curriculum at each of the three schools.

Combining forces with the larger community is what the grant team hopes will give the project some continuity and buy-in, as well as cultural relevance.

“Garden education is kind of associated with white, middle-class folks. But there are types of gardens that aren’t based in Western European traditions,” said Sharon Siehl, the Youth Education director for Tilth Alliance, the Seattle-based organic urban gardening nonprofit that’s helping with the project.

As she’s done in past projects, Bang said she plans on incorporating cultural context into the garden lessons, such as helping students understand methods of cultivation among indigenous populations.

The new project is one of many recent efforts to help Seattle schools adapt to a new set of national science standards, which call for teaching science in a way that fosters student interest in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

When the four years are up, the team hopes they’ll have enough research to make a case for expanding the model to all Seattle schools.

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New Design For Friends Of Liliuokalani Gardens

Nelson Makua and Na Makua Designs created a centennial design for Lili`uokalani Gardens that brings the Queen to the gardens named for her.

“For quite a while time, some of us have visualized what it might have been like for the Queen to visit the gardens in Hilo, a place she visited often through 1913,” said garden enthusiast K.T. Cannon-Eger. “We know she considered having a home built for her in Hilo and corresponded with John T. Baker about those plans. Illness prevented her travel to Hilo after 1913. Although she knew the garden acreage was set aside in early 1917, her death on November 11, 1917, precluded her ever seeing the gardens completed.”

“The board of directors of Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens is thrilled with Nelson Makua’s design which shortly will appear on tee shirts and tote bags among other centennial celebration uses.”

Makua has been an artist and designer on the Big Island for more than 40 years. Born and raised in Kailua, Oahu, he and his ‘ohana moved to the Big Island in 1975, where they reside in Puna, the original home of the Makua ‘ohana.

“My ancestors were part of the migration from Tahiti to Hawaii who settled in Kalapana in the district of Puna,” Makua said. “Living here gave me the opportunity to connect with ‘ohana, it was like coming home.”

He is best known for his design work, with clients in Hawai‘i, the mainland and Japan. He is a two time Na Hoku Hanohano award winner for graphic design and is the only artist to have created six years of Merrie Monarch Festival posters with his limited edition “Pele” series.

Makua’s first 2003 poster has now become a collectors’ item. His 2008 Merrie Monarch poster received the prestigious Pele Award for best illustration by the Hawaii Advertising Federation.

Last year, Nelson was honored as a MAMo Awardee for 2016 in recognition for his artistic contribution as a Native Hawaiian artist.

In 1999 Nelson and his son Kainoa, created a line of casual Hawaiian wear under the brand of Nä Mäkua. “Na Makua gives us a visual voice to express our views and feelings as native Hawaiians, creating images that speak out to other Hawaiians and honor our rich heritage.” They retail their apparel and art on their website

As well as being an artist and designer, Nelson has been the director of the annual Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair for the Merrie Monarch Festival for the past 14 years. He is also the director of the Moku O Keawe Marketplace at the Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival and along with his son Kainoa, they produce their annual Na Mäkua Invitational Christmas Gift fair in Hilo.

Though Nelson was classically trained in drawing, painting and photography, he has been a digital artist for more than 20 years. “The digital age has opened up a whole new world of creating for the artist, with countless possibilities. Guided by my kupuna before me, I consider myself a Hawaiian living in my own time, creating images that reflect my time and place.”

To find out more about the garden centennial or to purchase fund raising tee shirts or tote bags, please go to the Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens page on Facebook or contact Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens at P.O. Box 5147, Hilo HI 96749.

Banyan Gallery near the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel is one retail outlet for people who live in the Hilo area.

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9 ideas to make your own debt-free summer fun – WBRC FOX6 News

By Andrew Housser

When summer heats up, spending doesn’t have to. Avoid piling up new bills and debt this summer with these nine suggestions for frugal fun.

Pack a picnic. July is National Picnic Month. Look for free local events where you can take your picnic lunch or dinner. Enjoy an outdoor concert in a city park, head to a local lake to watch paddleboarders, or take a hike. Wherever you go, you can make memories and save money at the same time.

Plan meals ahead of time. Planning can help you eat simple, fresh and nutritious meals during the summer – and prevent you from grabbing pizza or burgers too often. Avoid bursting your budget with restaurant dining by planning meals a week at a time. Post menus on a kitchen bulletin board to remind everyone of the plan. Take into account travel, kids’ summer camps and hungry snackers. When in the car, take snacks or sandwiches to avoid being caught off guard.

Take a road trip. Seek out free fun – from a parade or concert to a dog show or rodeo – in a nearby community. On a longer trip, consider camping, which costs less than $40 a night at most campgrounds. If you do not own camping gear, look into renting. You also can borrow from friends or family, or via a sharing app such as Fluid.

Borrow tools instead of buying. Borrowing is not limited to camping gear. Think twice before buying a tool you need for a summer home-improvement or landscaping project. Instead, ask neighbors or relatives if they what you need. Maybe you can trade your skills or labor – from weeding to pet sitting – to cover the value of the trade. If borrowing doesn’t work, consider renting the tool from a local home-improvement store.

Bring back childhood’s simple pleasures. You know how much fun kids have riding bikes with friends, making popsicles or hanging out at the pool. Think of some of your favorite childhood pastimes – whether playing strategy games, having a water fight with the hose, or hitting the library for a new book – and try them out again with your children, a group of friends or family.

Save on air conditioning. Some utility companies offer a discount on electric bills if you allow them to turn down your air conditioning during peak times. If you live in a climate that cools down at night, consider installing an attic fan to bring in that cooler night air. Then close things up in the morning. Planting shade trees will eventually keep your home cooler, too.

Switch off your gas mower. If you are in the market for a new lawn mower, put down the gas can. Could a push (or reel) mower work for you? These machines are inexpensive, have zero fuel cost and provide some exercise, too. If you need more power, rechargeable electric mowers minimize refueling expenses.

Organize a yard sale. ’Tis the season to clean out closets, garages and spare rooms. Turn the things you do not need into cash. Choose a date, list the sale online and get ready to sell. Consider organizing a block sale with neighbors to draw in more customers. Use the money you make to pay off debt or add to your emergency fund.

Measure DIY costs versus paying a pro. If you have any spare time, try doing some home-improvement and maintenance projects yourself. For instance, painting one room might cost about $100 for paint and all the supplies you need. Paying a professional to paint it for you could cost $500 or more. Roll up your sleeves and you may be surprised at how much you can save.

Make the most of the summer season by leaving your wallet at home while you enjoy carefree (and cost-free) good times.

Andrew Housser is a co-founder and CEO of, a free one-stop online portal where consumers can educate themselves about personal finance issues and compare financial products and services. He also is co-CEO of Freedom Financial Network, LLC providing comprehensive consumer credit advocacy and debt relief services. Housser holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Stanford University and Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College.

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