money in pocket

Put More Money in your Pocket Every Month

Reviewing your monthly expenses once a year is a great practice to get into. As you look at your monthly budget, you will find some expenses that are fixed, like your rent or mortgage, car payments, and child care expenses. But there are several other common monthly expenses that should be reviewed and re-negotiated each year.

Call your current car insurance provider and shop other providers to make sure you have the lowest possible premium at that time. Contact your cell phone carrier to make sure you have the best and lowest cost package currently available. Shop health insurance each year to make sure you are covered at the best possible price. Contact your gym to make sure you are paying the best current pricing for your membership.

Research your cable and internet provider’s offers online then give them a call to make sure you have the best pricing for your services. Cable and internet companies often have promotions or package pricing that could be lower than your current bill. Do an audit of all online and app subscriptions you have to make sure you are not paying monthly fees for apps you signed up for in the past that you are no longer using. You will be surprised what the small fees add up to!

Don’t stop here! Analyze your monthly recurring payments and see how many of them you can bring down. The compound effect will give you a nice monthly raise.

What you don't want your foundation to do

A Dry Foundation is a Happy Foundation

Keeping water away from your home’s foundation is an important part of maintaining your home’s structural integrity. Water can cause soils to expand and contract as well as do damage to the interior of the home should it flood.

Keep your gutters clean and make sure downspouts will divert water to a place where it can drain away. If your home is equipped with a sump pit you may want to install a pump, or if you have a pump make sure it is operating properly. If your basement has a drain be sure it is clear in the event that you have an interior water leak, such as a broken pipe.

Let Your Realtor Help You!

Purchasing a home can be a stressful experience, whether you’re a first-time buyer or you’ve been through the process before. But that’s one of the reasons that working with a real estate professional is so worthwhile. With your agent’s guidance, buying a home should be enjoyable, rather than stressful. Here are some of the more unique circumstances where your agent can make your life much easier.

Out-of-town buyers: If you’re looking for vacation homes or moving to a job in a new city, there’s a good chance that viewing homes will be difficult—you could be a long drive or even a plane ride away. With today’s video messaging apps like Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime, your agent can walk you through a property virtually. It’s not the same as walking through in person, but it will at least give you an idea about whether a property is worth pursuing further.

When life is just too crazy: If you’re just getting too busy with everything else going on in your life, a good buyer’s agent should be able to recognize the situation and help you take a step back. They can suggest that you take a few weeks off from your home search to recharge, or only focus on properties that exactly fit your wants list.

Inspection issues: You’re dreaming about move-in day, and then some unforeseen issues turn up during inspection. A good agent can work out those issues by negotiating a lower offer—to cover costs of repairs—or by getting the seller to fix the problem.

robot vacuum cleaner

So You Want to Buy a Robot Vacuum Cleaner…

Technology is most helpful when it makes daily tasks easier and more efficient, and that’s most certainly the case with robot vacuum cleaners. It’s especially true if you’re in a climate that lends itself to lots of dust on your hard-surfaced floors or in your carpet.

Robot vacuum cleaners typically retail from $100 to about $700, and if you’re interested in having your home swept and vacuumed daily with little effort on your part, it’s a great investment. Here’s what to look for if you’re shopping for a robot vacuum cleaner.

Battery life
The best robot vacuums can run for two hours or longer. That’s particularly important if you have a big place—you don’t want to have to keep recharging your vacuum between cleanings. It’s especially convenient if you have a vacuum that can automatically dock and recharge between uses.

Cleaning patterns
Simpler, more inexpensive vacuums may only clean in a random or back-and-forth pattern, while more advanced vacuums can virtually map a room for more precise cleaning. It’s also better if the vacuum is capable of making multiple passes in its pattern, as it’ll lead to a more thorough cleaning job.

Size and design
Most robot vacuum cleaners are no more than four inches tall, so they can move under furniture. Still, pay attention to the height of your vacuum and the clearance of your furniture, so that you don’t end up with a vacuum that can’t get to important spots. Also, consider your floor type—some vacuums are better-suited for hardwood floors and tile, while others are better for carpeted floors.

Clutter

5 Tips for Reducing Clutter

It doesn’t take much time to go from a perfectly organized room to a cluttered, chaotic mess. Papers pile up on surfaces, coats and bags end up on furniture, shoe boxes and shopping bags get stuffed in the first place you can find. But if you’re proactive, you can avoid the common clutter traps. Here are five ideas for reducing clutter:

1. Have a place for the things you bring into the house each day: Do what you can do create an easy place to put your outerwear, mail, keys, phone, and the other things you bring home each day. Coat racks, mail holders, and a catch-all basket give you an easy, consistent place to put your everyday items.

2. Get a basket for once-worn clothes: There are some clothing items that may not need to be washed or put away immediately after one use, like sweaters or denim. These items often end up on the bedroom floor. Instead, put them in a specific basket for items that aren’t yet ready for the laundry room.

3. Keep kitchen tools off the counter: It’s really easy to let items pile up on the kitchen counters, and all that clutter can be frustrating when it’s ready to make a meal. To reduce clutter, use wall racks to keep cooking utensils off the counter.

4. Designate a no-clutter zone: This one’s simple. Simply choose an important surface or space (like a coffee table), clear it of clutter, and focus on keeping that one area totally organized.

5. Keep the dining room table set: Not only is a set table pleasant to the eye, but it also makes it nearly impossible for the table to gather clutter. Thanks to the plates and silverware, there’s no room for your junk mail.