Save on Utility Bills

Did you know the average family spends over $1600 a year on utility bills alone?   Here are some simple steps you can take to not only save energy but also put some money back in your pocket.

    Put your thermostat to work

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommends setting your air conditioner at 74 degrees and your furnace at 68 degrees. Investing in a programmable thermostat is a good idea. Set the thermostat to be warmer or colder when you are not home. Reduce the difference in temperature between the inside and the outside of the home to help save energy and money.

    Invest in energy-efficient appliances

You may notice now that washers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, air conditioners, and computers now come with Energy Star labels which mean they are energy efficient.  Energy Star appliances will save you money over older appliances.

    Unplug

Computers, stereos, toasters, and other appliances draw energy even when they are turned off. A large LCD or plasma TV consumes about 400 watts of energy when in use and 4 watts when not in use.  Using a surge protector will help reduce energy costs. Plug your appliances into a surge protector and turn off the protector when appliances are not in use.

    Seal it up

A well-insulated house is a way to save money on heat and cooling costs. First, start by adding insulation to the attic floor. Next, make sure to fill in any holes in exterior walls especially where pipes come in and around windows and doors. Lastly, wrap hot water pipes with insulation.

    Slow the flow

Install low-flow fixtures to conserve water on your shower, faucets and toilets. Also remember to repair leaky faucets and toilets and turn off the water when brushing your teeth and scrubbing dishes.

Don’t Make Credit Mistakes

Did you know your credit score can change every day? Your credit score or FICO score is a three-digit number used by lenders to help them decide whether or not to lend you money and at what interest rate. Knowing what lenders see as risky can help you avoid mistakes that can damage your credit score for years.

Here are some of the factors lenders look at:

Payment track record

How much debt owed

Credit history

Established credit

New credit inquiries

Types of credit accounts

If you want to have the best credit score possible there are a few basic things that, if done on a regular basis, should improve a credit score:

Pay all of your bills on time, every time.

Keep your credit card balances low.

Only open new credit when necessary.

A Facelift for Your Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchens sell houses. So having a great looking kitchen is important if you are thinking of putting your home on the market or maybe you just need a fresh new look. Cabinets are one of the biggest expenses in a kitchen remodel but with a little elbow grease and creativity, you can update your kitchen cabinets without going through the hassle of an entire remodel.

Here are some tips on how to make your kitchen look like new with a cabinet facelift.

Give the wood a Good Cleaning

You will be surprised what a good scrubbing can do. Heat, water, grease and food residue all take a serious toll on your cabinets.

  • If you choose to remove the doors, label or number them so you’ll put them back in the right place.
  • Make sure to test any kind of cleaner before using it on the entire cabinet. Cleaners with large amounts of alcohol may cause the wood to dry and crack.
  • Clean and Update the Hardware

    Hardware gets greasy and grimy so make sure to clean those too.

  • Soak the hardware in a soapy-water solution for 30 minutes.
  • Scrub lightly with a soft brush and rinse.
  • Let dry and apply the proper polish.
  • You may decide instead to replace the hardware. In choosing the finish for your hardware, think about what style will look best in your home.

    Add Some Detail

    Add some detail to drab cabinets with moulding. Applying a contrasting finish or color is a quick and inexpensive way to change the look of your cabinets.

    Stripping and Refinishing

    If after cleaning your cabinets still need some help, you may decide to refinish or paint them

  • Make sure to remove all the cabinet doors and number them.
  • Liquid strippers work best, but be sure to use the gel or semi-paste types.
  • Place doors on a vertical surface. The finish won’t drip as much.
  • Let the stripping agent do the work and start with an inconspicuous area.
  • Patch any conspicuous holes, scratches and nicks with wood filler. When dry, sand lightly to smooth out the patch. Before painting, sand lightly and prime.
  • Before painting remember that the wood expands and contracts with the seasons, which will cause the paint bead to separate and expose unpainted wood.

    So with a little hard work you can have a whole new look to your kitchen in no time.

  • How to Save Money

    Is there really a secret to saving money? It may seem as though it is mystery how your bank account ends up empty every month but there is no mystery to it. While it may be no secret there are three important tips you can follow to help you put more money in your pocket. The challenge is to follow the tips in order to be successful at saving money. The rest is up to you.

    1. Create a Budget

    You need to know where your money is going. Once you have established where you spend your money you will be able to find places to make cuts. The first thing to do is figure out how much is being spent on housing, utilities, groceries, debt, and entertainment. Once you know where the money is going you will be able to set limits for problem areas. This is the money that you will apply to secret #2.

    2. Pay Yourself First

    This is a huge secret, pay yourself first. Yes, before you dole out money for bills as soon as your paycheck hits your account; deposit a specified amount into savings. It doesn’t matter how small the amount is, at least you are saving.

    Even better , create an automatic savings plan that will automatically deposit money into your savings account before you even have a chance to spend it. This can be done right through your employer’s direct deposit or with a recurring transfer with your bank.

    3. Spend Less Than You Earn

    If you don’t learn to obey this rule you will never be able to save money. You simply have to spend less money than you earn and there’s no way around that. If you are spending more than you earn you are borrowing money and thus putting yourself into debt.