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15 Ways to Brighten Up Your Garden on a Budget

15 Ways to Brighten Up Your Garden on a Budget

Is your garden lacking color, depth, and excitement? If you are looking to transform your backyard into a personalized space that will impress on a budget, try one or many of these simple projects.

1. Pallet Herb Garden

Pallets can be found all over and are literally thrown away by businesses everyday. A great way to recycle old pallets is to attach terra cotta pots to them and make them into a rustic pallet herb garden. Be sure to research whether the type of herbs you want to grow require a lot of sun or prefer shade and plan accordingly. Creativity is your best friend, design your pallet garden any way you see fit.

Herb Garden in a pallet

    2. Bird Bath/Garden Planter

    Take the simplicity of painted terra cotta pots, add all the excitement of a bird bath, and what you’re left with is a beautiful bird bath planter.  If you want your feathered friends to return to your garden time and time again make sure you are regularly cleaning the bird bath.

    Tutorial: http://www.homestoriesatoz.com/outdoor/diy-garden-planter-birds-bath.html

    Clay pots stacked with birdbath

      3. DIY Pallet Bench Garden Project

      Scrap lumber is more useful than you think. Use either 2x4s or deconstructed pallets to make this simple yet wonderfully colorful bench. Simplicity rules, and anyone who walks by won’t help but notice your artsy homemade garden bench.

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      Garden Bench Multi-Colored

        4. Flowerpot Wind Chime

        If wind chimes are you style, you can avoid buying a new one and make your own. Follow these simple instructions to make an amazing flowerpot wind chime.

        Tutorial: http://houseofjoyfulnoise.com/terracotta-flower-pot-wind-chime-tutorial/

        Wind Chime

          5. Chandelier Planter

          What’s that old clunky looking chandelier in your garage up to? Short answer: nothing! So why not turn it into a gorgeous chandelier planter? Use clay pots in place of the light fixtures and be sure to attach the pots with a strong adhesive. These planters will look great anywhere including your garden, porch, or even inside your home if you so desire.

          Tutorial: http://diyshowoff.com/2013/06/11/chandelier-planter-tutorial-2/2/

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          Chandelier

            6. Hummingbird Feeder

            Hummingbirds are one of the most fascinating species of birds. They are colorful, animated creatures that are as exciting to watch as they are beautiful. I’ve owned many of these feeders and by far the best design and most naturally appealing to hummingbirds seems to be the hummerbar style feeder. This design uses a large tube with plastic flowers as access points to hummingbirds favorite food: nectar! The hummerbar style hummingbird feeders start at about $20, so whether you decide to buy one or make your own, it won’t break the bank.

            Hummingbird hummerbar feeder

              7. Recycled Chair Garden Planter

              My next door neighbor once saw me throwing out a wooden chair that had the bottom broken out of it. He gave me this same idea and my homemade chair planter quickly became my favorite things on my front porch.

              Pot Chair

                8. Clay Pot Rain Chain

                With summer on the brain, rain is probably the last thing on your mind. Attaching small clay pots to your rain chains makes them stand out as unique and creative.

                rainpots

                  9. Recycled Wood Pallet Garden Path

                  Yet another use for wood pallets is to take them apart and use the lumber to create a path. Consider staining the boards first, or even using this idea to create a small bridge for your garden or back yard.

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                  Recycled Wooden Path

                    10. Clay Pot Lighthouses

                    This idea for your garden is simple enough, but it may require some artistic abilities. Glue terra cotta pots together and once they dry paint them like a lighthouse. Whether you live on coast or anywhere else this project brings a little bit of ocean air to your garden.

                    Tutorial: http://www.ehow.com/how_4882573_make-clay-pot-lighthouse.html

                    Clay Pot Lighthouse

                      11. Seashell Encrusted Clay Pot

                      Following suit with the light house clay pots, these seashell clay pots are awesome. Simply choose a clay pot, gather or buy some interesting sea shells, and attach them with a high power adhesive. Try planting succulents or tropical plants in these customized clay pots.

                      Seashell Pot

                        12. Stump Planters

                        Stumps or old abandoned logs are everywhere. As long as they aren’t rotten they will make great planters. Try filing them with summery flowers or even aromatic herbs!

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                        Tutorial: http://www.listotic.com/creative-garden-container-ideas/9/

                        Stump Planters

                          13. Decorative Mushrooms Made With Terra Cotta Pots

                          Bordering the line of folk-art, mushroom themed clay pots are frankly the most fun portion of this list. Try using bright colored paint combinations and use the pots as the mushroom stem, drain trays as the mushroom caps. Garden gnomes unite!

                          Clay Pot Mushrooms

                            14. Succulent Wreath

                            Succulents are one of the easiest types of plants to take care of. Start by creating a ring of moss (Spanish moss is my favorite), and add in succulents. Although traditional wreaths are only for the holidays, these succulent wreaths are pretty timeless.

                            succulentwreath

                              15. Clay Pot Planter Wall

                              Construct a basic wooden frame and use either chicken wire or large screen material as the backing. Attach some clay pots and go wild! Use as many as you think are suitable and fill them with the bright plants of your choice.

                              Pot Wall

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                                Robert Parmer

                                Freelance Writer

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                                Published on May 7, 2019

                                How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                                How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                                When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

                                Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

                                Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

                                You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

                                Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

                                1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

                                Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

                                But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

                                • Will you spend more time with your family?
                                • What does retirement mean to you?
                                • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

                                Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

                                Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

                                2. Figure out When to Invest

                                “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

                                It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

                                The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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                                A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

                                Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

                                3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

                                Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

                                Why?

                                Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

                                Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

                                Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

                                Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

                                4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

                                Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

                                If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

                                You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

                                1. Vanguard
                                2. TD Ameritrade
                                3. Charles Schwab

                                5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

                                Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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                                Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

                                That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

                                Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

                                A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

                                6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

                                The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

                                Robo Advisors

                                Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

                                Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

                                Bonds

                                Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

                                Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

                                Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

                                1. Treasury bonds
                                2. Government bonds
                                3. Corporate bonds
                                4. Foreign bonds
                                5. Mortgage-backed bonds
                                6. Municipal bonds

                                Mutual Funds

                                Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

                                One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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                                Real Estate

                                Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

                                Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

                                This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

                                But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

                                Savings Accounts

                                Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

                                7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

                                Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

                                So how can you master delayed gratification?

                                By building your discipline.

                                Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

                                Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

                                8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

                                I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

                                It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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                                More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

                                But, how can you invest yourself?

                                Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

                                Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

                                But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

                                Retire Happy with Excess Money

                                The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

                                It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

                                I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

                                Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

                                One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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                                Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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