Monthly Archives: April 2014

Remodeling: Repairs To Keep In Mind That Can Save You Money

Owning a home can be one of the most satisfying accomplishments any adult can achieve. It can also be expensive and difficult. However, homeowners looking to reduce their monthly expenses while also raising their home’s value have options. With just a few repairs and some basic upgrades, any home can become more affordable and eco-friendly almost overnight.

Skylights 

Properly installed skylights are a great investment. Not only are skylights visually appealing, they can also reduce the need for artificial lights in darker rooms and hallways. In summer they can provide additional ventilation, and in winter they are a source of natural solar heat. This can reduce electrical, cooling, and heating bills, all with one single upgrade. They can also increase the resale value of a home, making a skylight a great choice for any homeowner.

Green Appliances 

Green appliances may cost more initially but will save homeowners a lot of money in the long run. Whether a water heater, an air conditioning unit or even a dishwasher, an eco-friendly appliance will use less electricity and less water, resulting in less spending. The cumulative difference on utility bills can add up to enormous savings. Homeowners shouldn’t be penny wise and pound foolish when upgrading or replacing outdated appliances.

Landscaping 

When repairing winter-ravaged landscaping, money minded homeowners should consider some easy upgrades that will save on water and electricity costs long term. Firstly, in naturally dry climates, rather than relying on expensive sprinkler systems owners should plant drought resistant greenery. In many cases, native vegetation tends to be most naturally suited to the climate anyway, making the landscaping both eco-friendly and locally sourced. Secondly, strategically placed trees and bushes can provide shade for sunny windows and insulation for windy winters. Taken together, these upgrades equal savings.

Upgraded Windows And Doors 

Double paned or UV coated windows and reinforced doors can dramatically reduce both cooling and heating costs. Not only will this lower energy bills, but upgraded windows and doors can immediately raise a home’s resale value, as well as reduce noise pollution within the home. This can be especially important for homes found near busy roads or built in very warm or very cold climates. Homeowners should make sure to consult with reputable vendors such as The Skylight Place window installers or other local contractors for help in selecting the best eco-friendly window upgrades.

Any of these upgrades will have instant results on a home’s bottom line. All of them together will result in hundreds or even thousands of dollars in annual savings. With just a few simple changes and some initial investment, owning a home can be affordable for anyone. If you’re interested in buying a pre-owned home, it may be worth it to get the roof, windows, siding and gutters checked for any damages by Roofs By Rodger.

Moving Expenses You Can Use As A Tax Deduction

Many people move throughout the year due to job transfers or promotions, which can easily add up to thousands of dollars just to relocate. Some companies provide partial compensation, but the cost can still be at the expense of the employee. Instead of getting stuck with the bill, try to record each of the moving expenses, which can be used as a tax deduction later in the year.

 

Moving Truck and Movers

 

Paying movers to pack your belongings and transferring them to your new location may seem like a luxury, but can actually be recognized as a write-off when tax season approaches. The cost of moving boxes, bubble wrap, and packaging tape can also be factored in for supplies that attribute to the overall cost. Keep all receipts for your records.

 

Fuel

 

When relocating hundreds to thousands of miles away, the cost of fuel can quickly add up for all cars and moving trucks that were driven to the new location. Fortunately, you can claim 24 cents to the mile for each vehicle used, which will be recognized as a reputable write-off. Tolls and parking fees can also be factored in to the expense.

 

 

If certain family members flew or took other modes of transportation when relocating, this can also be used as a write-off due to the necessity of the expense.

 

Storage Units

 

During a move, many people need to rent a local storage unit to hold extra belongings that may need to be transported at a later date. According to U-STOR, a company that specializes in self storage in Zionsville, business-related items can be stored in a secure and climate-controlled unit during a move. This is an additional tax deduction for up to 30 days that it is used, but it must be business-related to count as a proper deduction.

 

Utility Fees

 

When relocating, there are often several fees involved with disconnecting the cable, telephone service, wifi, and electricity. All of these fees can add up to hundreds of dollars, but can also be accounted for as a write-off that is related to your move when filing your taxes. Keep all receipts and emails for up to seven years to prove the expense should an audit ever occur.

 

 

Moving doesn’t have to be such a headache if the expenses are properly recorded to be used as tax deductions that can pay off. Although it can be difficult to afford every minor and major expense involved with a move, the overall cost can be greatly reduced after documenting your write-offs and receiving the proper credit.

Easiest Ways to Add Money to Your Children’s College Funds

While it is natural for parents to want to give their children a fat college fund, scraping up the cash can be difficult. Your 401(k) and other retirement plans need to be funded, you may have financed a home and vehicles that have monthly payments and you may even be expected to help your elderly parents with their living or medical expenses. Don’t let all the demands on your money put your children’s college funds on the back burner. Here are four easy ways to make sure education will be the focus in school and not crippling student loan debt.

 

Make Savings Automatic

 

Most financial institutions will allow you set up an automatic savings plan. According to your pay schedule, set up automatic withdrawals from your primary checking account to be transferred to your children’s college funds. Start slowly and bump up the amounts when you receive a raise or get a promotion. This will add up quickly.

 

Spend Half, Save Half

 

When your children receive money for holidays or birthdays, you may be tempted to let them spend it all on clothes, electronics or other baubles. Instead, save half of any money they receive for college. This will not only pad their accounts, it will demonstrate the adult behavior of saving for what is needed rather than spending on what is wanted. You can also set up a savings account at a local bank or Air Force Federal Credit Union and give family members direct access to deposit money instead of giving cash gifts.

 

Encourage Entrepreneurship and Work Ethic

 

Once your kids reach high school, they may begin to show signs of marketable talent. Encourage them to charge for their wares or services and bank all or a portion of the profits for college. For example, your virtuoso son may charge to play the organ at weddings, or your handy daughter may decide to sell her gorgeous crocheted afghans using an online shop. If you live in an area where minors can carry part-time jobs, you may decide to allow your child to work as long as their grades don’t suffer.

 

Snip Cash Where You Can

 

Are you stopping every morning for a grande latte when you already own a perfectly good coffee maker? Skim that cash and sock it away for college. Print your bank statement and go line by line, looking for fat to trim. If you are serious about funding your child’s college education, some minor budget cutbacks may be necessary.

 

Saving up the money to put your children through college can seem daunting. By using these tips, you can prepare your child for the adult world without a five-figure student loan debt hanging over his or her head.

How to Remain Financially Stable When Going Through a Divorce

Not only is going through a divorce a painful and emotional process, but it can also be a challenge financially. With the high cost of hiring a divorce attorney and the loss of an extra income after separating, it can be a challenge to stay afloat until the dust settles. For those needing to regain their financial stability, there are a few ways to survive the difficult time.

 

Find a Roommate

 

After you become separated from your spouse, it can be difficult to pay the mortgage or rent on only one income. Find a roommate through online ads or a listing in the local newspaper, which can allow you to stay at your current residence and even have some extra company. If you have children, a roommate is not the best option, but you can save money by having a family member stay with you.

 

Cut Coupons

 

Reduce your spending on groceries and household products by cutting coupons that can easily be found online or through newspaper inserts. Use both store coupons and manufacturer coupons in conjunction with one another for double the savings. Several online blogs also provide updates on the latest deals each day for an easy way of saving potentially hundreds of dollars a month on the items you already buy. It’s important to save money where ever you possibly can so that you can start rebuilding your savings account.

 

Budget Alimony Money

 

When paying alimony, it’s important to budget the money correctly to ensure that you’re able to make payments on time. Cut out unneeded luxuries from your budget to ensure you can afford the payments in the first year. Consider downsizing the type of car you drive or perhaps where you plan to live. If you are in the process of negotiating alimony, it’s important to talk to an alimony attorney in Sacramento or wherever you live to find out your options.

 

When receiving alimony money, don’t depend on it for your main source of income. Become self-sufficient with your own career and use the money to simply supplement your income. If you do need to live on alimony for a period of time, make sure to budget and don’t spend money on any luxuries.

 

Pay Off Debt

 

Outstanding debt is one of the main factors that can contribute to bankruptcy after filing for divorce. Work to pay it off quickly, even if the debts are settled, to ensure you’re still able to qualify for a credit card or small loan. This will help to maintain your credit score and allow you to qualify on loan applications.

 

Although it can be a challenge to readjust your lifestyle and finances after a divorce, there are several ways to ensure that you remain stable and independent. Make the necessary adjustments and stick within a realistic budget to ensure you regain your life and are able to support yourself. Although it can be difficult to deal with finances during the healing process, it will ensure that you establish a future for yourself.