Fear of making the leap from renter to owner is normal – after all, purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial investments most people make in their lifetime. But did you know that homeownership is one step toward financial security for some?
Staying cool doesn’t have to be expensive. We’re not talking about a hip hairstyle or the coolest threads – we mean literally cool.
Keeping your home comfortable in the summer may seem like an impossibility without the A/C, but houselogic.com has deciphered a few ways to do it while saving on energy.
One concern of many first time home buyers is saving money for a down payment. Saving, after all, can be difficult to do when you’re already paying rent, right? Wrong!
The debate has been going on for a while now: are the savings on your electric bill worth the upfront cost of purchasing LED lights? Since many homeowners are investing in holiday lights this time of year, we thought a calculation comparing 10 strands of lights would be appropriate.
Chart via: XcelEnergy
Using the average figures, and calculating the cost for running holiday lights from 5 p.m. to midnight every day from the day after Thanksgiving to January 5, the calculations break down like this:
6 hours per day for 40 days = 240 hours
Using this formula from XcelEnergy:
kW used X (Cost per kWh) X Hours Used = Cost of Electric
Cost of incandescent lighting:
3.208kW X $0.1188 X 240 hours = $91.47
Cost of LED lighting:
0.104kW X $0.1188 X 240 hours = $2.97
As you can see, the savings with LED lights far outweigh the upfront cost. Additionally, LED holiday lights can last up to 40 years, while traditional lights usually only last a few.
Going green isn’t only about saving the environment; it’s also about saving you money! So for this week's Go Green Friday, we're sharing some easy ways that you can cut your grocery bill and save money.
- Plan meals that work into your budget – Usually, the further out you plan your meals, the more money you save. If you plan your meals for the week, rather than running to the grocery store daily for random odds and ends, you’re going to stretch your budget a lot further. Try to plan meals that share ingredients, and avoid meals that require you to purchase expensive, random ingredients that you’ll likely never use again.
- Get into couponing – You don’t have to be one of TLC’s Extreme Couponers to reap the benefits of couponing. There are tons of websites now that do most of the legwork for you! All you have to do is peruse their online coupon catalogs, and save the ones you think you’ll use. Depending on your store, you might even be able to send the coupons right to your store savings card (which will apply them upon checkout).
- Utilize items you already have – Take an inventory of your freezer, fridge and pantry and see what can be thrown together to make a meal. You might be surprised at how many extra meals you can conjure up.
- Check out discount food stores – Aldi, Save-A-Lot and even Dollar Tree have stepped up their game recently, and now offer a lot of the same products (though perhaps a different brand) as the mainstream grocery stores (including organic, vegan and gluten free specialty items). You may have to do some trial runs with store brands to see if you like them, but in some cases, you may find you like their brands even more than the ones you've been using.
- Buy in bulk – Stores like Costco, BJs and Sam’s Club, allow you to purchase all kinds of items in bulk – saving you money and trips to the grocery store.
- Re-purpose leftovers – Few people enjoy having the same dinner two nights in a row – and that’s totally fine! Store the componants of your meal separately and re-purpose them! If you have pasta with meat and tomato sauce one night, have tacos (with the leftover meat) the next night, and pasta salad (with the leftover pasta) the following night!
Saving money doesn't have to be time consuming or difficult - in fact, it can even be fun! Check out these five easy ways to go green(er) and save big with simple changes.
1. Switch paper to linen – Paper and plastic products are convenient, and sometimes, they are absolutely necessary. But depending solely on one-time use products can put a big dent in your wallet and a lot of waste in landfills. Consider switching items like your paper towels and napkins over to linen options.
2. BYOB (Bake Your Own Bread) – Did you know that you can make your own bread for about 1/3 of the cost of buying bread (even more if you're currently buying specialty breads)? Better yet, you can control all of the ingredients, avoid additives and chemicals and make custom, extra-yummy breads like cinnamon raisin. Because who doesn’t love cinnamon raisin bread?
3. DIY lunches – The average American spends about $2,000 annually on lunch and an additional $1,000 per year on coffee. Bring yours from home and start counting the savings!
4. Buy in bulk – Buying in bulk saves you time and money, and helps you live a greener life. And who wouldn’t love to go to the grocery store less frequently?
It’s no secret that vinegar is one of those baking ingredients that has become a cure all of sorts – even taking the stage in some beauty regimes. Aside from baking and beauty, one of the most popular places for vinegar is in cleaning. It effectively provides a chemical free, cost-effective clean that rivals the cleaners you would find in most stores.
If you’ve never tried it, these five vinegar cleaning hacks will have you hooked.
- Showerhead Cleaning
Your shower head can get a little grimy – mineral build up is hard to combat and happens naturally overtime; this build up can have a few different negative side effects, but perhaps the most noticeable is a disruption of your water flow. So if your dreamy high-pressure, waterfall spout is feeling more like a dripping nuisance, try a vinegar soak! Simply fill a plastic bag with white vinegar and fix it around your showerhead with a rubber band. Leave the mixture overnight.
- Drain cleaning
When it comes to drains, even if you have a cover to block the big things, common substances like soap scum will take up residence and leave your shower or sink draining slower than usual. To combat this, pour a few cups of white vinegar down your drains once a month.
- Garbage Disposal
This awesome vinegar trick not only cleans your disposal, but also helps deodorize it and sharpen the blades. Simply take an ice cube tray and freeze white vinegar with lemon peels inside. Once frozen, grind up the custom cubes in your disposal.
- Washing Machine
Your washing machine cleans for a living, so it’s something you wouldn’t necessarily think about cleaning. However, it could still use a refresher every few months. Check out this simple vinegar DIY.
Cleaning the bathroom is not usually a popular chore, but it seems like it always needs to be done. Save yourself a little work (and even some time in between cleaning) by refreshing your toilet’s siphon jets (the little things that shoot out water) with vinegar. Simply pour a few cups of vinegar into your toilet’s tank once a month.
And if you can't stomach the vinegar smell, but love the cleaning potential, check out this DIY for sweet smelling vinegar!
THIRTY PERCENT – that’s the amount of your monthly income you can expect to pay for rent throughout the US currently. But it gets worse, in some historically higher markets, such as Los Angeles, San Jose, Miami and San Francisco, renters are forking over as much as 40% of their monthly income to landlords. While these markets have almost always been considered pricey by most, the 40% percent is a 10% point jump up from the usual rate.
But while circumstances are looking bleak for renters, homeowners are experiencing something entirely different. In fact, homeowners, overall, are spending only an average of 15.1% of their monthly income on their mortgage payment. This is a significantly lower number than before the real estate bubble (and the consequences thereof), when homeowners were spending around 21.3% of their monthly income on their mortgage payment.
While some fear that mortgage rates will soon rise, thus offsetting this large gap, according to Zillow’s quarterly report, even if rates were to rise to 6%, homeowners in most areas would still be spending less than 30% of their monthly incomes on their mortgage payments.
Are you interested in becoming a first time homebuyer? Download our free First Time Homebuyer’s Study Guide today.
Washing dishes…a universal evil that is truly unavoidable. Unfortunately, we can’t make it any better for you…but we can save you money, help you save the environment and help you reduce the number of chemicals in your home! Yeah, it’s not quite as good as never having to wash dishes again…but you’ve got to start somewhere, right?
Here’s what you’ll need:
2 cups of castile soap
1 teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar (helps cut through grease)
½ cup of warm water
Empty dish soap bottle
Here’s what to do:
Pour all of the ingredients into the container.
Shake. Shake. Shake (insert catchy Taylor Swift tune here…)
Just shake each time before using as the ingredients may separate.
If you have a dishwasher…
Did you know that you could use vinegar in place of your rinsing agent?
Source: Natural Healing News