Is your home showing signs of wear and tear, presenting a worn and sad face to the world? Updating and remodeling are an ideal way to enhance the appearance, functionality, enjoyment, and value of your home. While home improvement is a great way to make your home a reflection of your personality, it is important to do a bit of planning and research before you begin. Do The Research Visit open houses, review decorating magazines, and visit home and garden shows for ideas and inspiration. There are so many new and innovative decorating trends and eco-friendly building products; you will want a clear idea in mind of your personal preferences. Prioritize Your Projects Like most homeowners, you probably have several ideas for home improvement projects that you would like to accomplish to improve the quality of your home and enhance your lifestyle. Replacing weather stripping and adding insulation to the attic should perhaps take priority over building an outdoor fireplace. Evaluate Your Reasons For Remodeling First of all, consider if you plan to remain in the home for many years or if you are contemplating selling the property within the next five years. Some projects such as adding an in-ground swimming pool can offer years of enjoyment, but you may not recover your investment were you to put the house up for sale. On the other hand, a new roof adds to the value of the property and immediately impacts the home’s appeal to potential buyers. Decide On A Budget Many homeowners report they have “champagne taste and a beer budget.” It is wise to keep in mind that you can’t really enjoy your new media room if you spend all your time worrying about how your are going to pay for it. Not to worry. If you plan a budget for your project, you can stick to it by finding substitutes for some materials and products that will produce the same or similar appearance and functionality. Selecting laminate flooring instead of solid hardwood flooring is but one example. Determine If You Need A Professional Contractor Unless you are an experienced “do-it-yourself” type of homeowner, many jobs such as plumbing, roofing, electrical wiring, and masonry are best left to a professional contractor. On major jobs, even if you think you will do-it-yourself, it is wise to request bids from at least two independent reputable contractors. Not only will you learn someone else’s approach to the project, you may find that when you consider the time involved and that you may not have the appropriate skills, tools or equipment for the job, it is more time and cost efficient to hire a contractor.
Owning a home is a must for some people. To some adults, a house represents family, tradition and the best form of equity. For others, having money to travel is a priority. If you're trying to decide whether home buying or renting is best for you, consider how long you expect to live in a house. Renting and home buying pros and cons You could move to a different house every two to three years. But, each move would require you to negotiate closing costs, cover realtor fees and pay for necessary repairs or upgrades so that a buyer pays you the full value of your home. The amount of disposable income that you want and how frequently you plan to move aren't the only factors to consider. You need to find out if you can afford home buying over the long term, not just for the next three to four years. After all, even if you only plan to stay in a house for a few years, unless you make a hefty down payment or sell the house quickly, you'll generally be responsible for a mortgage for at least 12 years, 30 years for a longer mortgage. Therefore, consider your savings. Are you currently living paycheck to paycheck or do you have $10,000 or more saved? Some lenders offer loan calculators that you can use for free. Consider taking advantage of these options. Seeing how much you would pay each month for a house (and for how long) is a great reality check. Your current choices aren't set in stone Also, think about your personality. Home buying might be a better fit for you if you don't want to live close to your neighbors. Space to engage in hobbies like wood working or classic car collecting, host large social events, own large dogs and grow a garden are other reasons why buying a house may be best. If you don't know the first thing about home repairs and want access to an in-ground swimming pool, gym and community fellowship area, renting might be the way to go. Living in an apartment or renting a home could keep you from feeling alone if you're single. You also won't have to worry about property taxes. But, you'll never have equity in the home or apartment that you rent. You also won't be able to take advantage of home ownership tax breaks. And you can't leave a home or apartment that you rent to your children the way that you could if you buy a house. The good news is that if you're renting right now, you could start searching for a house to own as soon as you're ready. Equally, if you currently own a house and decide to rent for a few years, you could start taking steps to go the renter's route as well.
There are several compelling reasons to have a dog as a family pet. They give their owners unconditional love, their protective instinct helps keep your family and home safe, and they're great walking or jogging companions. If you love dogs, then your home probably does not feel complete without one. However, dog ownership is not for everyone, and careful thought should be given to the pros and cons of bringing a dog into the family. Here's an overview of some of the issues to weigh when your kids are begging you to buy them a puppy.
With grocery prices on the rise, many of us are cutting corners any way we can at the supermarket. Some people cut coupons, others have switched to wholesale grocery stores where they can buy in bulk to save. However, there are many ways you can be more frugal just by switching to some more cost-effective recipes. Here are some frugal cooking ideas that will help you save each week at the register.
Preparing lunches can seem like a chore that no one has time for. Many people find themselves grabbing a can of soup while they run out the door. Others go out for fast food on their lunch break spending money on food and gas. There’s a solution to this problem that will save you money on lunches and save you time in the morning—bulk cooking.
Pick one or two lunches that you’d like to eat throughout the week and prepare them all Sunday morning. You could buy ingredients for a couple types of tacos to avoid getting sick of the same ones every day of the week.
Aside from tacos, other good lunch meals to cook in bulk include pizzas, stir fry meals, burritos, and pasta dishes.
You can save a huge amount of money at the grocery store by planning out meals that involve staples like rice, beans, pasta, and frozen vegetables. When bought in larger portions, you’ll save at the register but won’t sacrifice nutritional content because these food staples are rich in essential vitamins and nutrients.
We eat a lot of animal products in America. The beef industry alone leaves a larger carbon footprint on the environment that the auto industry! Is your family the type that has some form of meat with every meal of the week? If so, you’re probably spending a lot more at the grocery store than need be. Vegetarian and vegan meal options are usually cheaper and just as healthy (if not healthier) than meals that have meat. If you’re worried about not feeling full from a vegetarian meal, try making recipes with hearty ingredients and plant-based proteins (beans, nuts, grains, etc.). A good example would be a burrito packed with rice, beans, and grilled vegetables.
Many people have a hard time saving money at the grocery sure because they’re just not sure what to cook. They arrive at the store with only a vague idea of what they want to eat and then fill their cart with all the possibilities. Plan out a weekly menu of your meals and snacks for the week and only buy those items you’ll need for your recipes.
There are thousands of cook books out there. Many expert chefs have realized that the average person is just looking for some good meals to try that won’t break their wallet. Some even boast cookbooks that will feed your family for just a couple dollars per person per meal.
Now that you know some good frugal eating tips it’s time to turn them into habits. Start with just one tip for now and add the others as you become more comfortable. Soon you’ll be saving money and finding new favorite foods at the same time.