Three Purchases You Might Not Want to Postpone

As a homeowner, you’re constantly faced with a variety of spending decisions, many of which could improve the quality of your life or just put a strain on your budget. The challenge is to monitor your cash flow, anticipate your family’s needs, and avoid spending more than you can afford. There’s a goal that’s much easier said than done!

Although managing one’s budget is based on personal priorities and financial resources, it’s often useful to consider feedback and perspectives from other homeowners. The following thoughts are based on the experiences of one such homeowner.

  • Tool sheds are not an absolute necessity for most people, but they can be extremely helpful in protecting your yard equipment and keeping your property looking neat. If you own a riding mower, for example, there may not be space in your garage to store it. For those who own a backyard swimming pool, a shed can be very useful for storing pool chemicals, maintenance equipment, and pool toys. While a tool shed can set you back a few hundred dollars or more, getting one on your property will make your yard look nicer and keep your tools, chemicals, and machinery in a safer, more secure place.
  • Many people are aware that a basement dehumidifier can remove excess moisture and help prevent the growth of mold. This is especially important if you’re storing anything of value in your basement, such as old books, important documents, clothing, framed art, or collectables. Since basement humidifiers vary in price from a couple hundred dollars to well over $1,000, some homeowners postpone buying them. However, when you factor in the potential cost of mold remediation and having to throw away belongings that get damaged by moisture and mold, the cost is much more justifiable. If you’re fortunate enough to have a dry basement with a humidity level of less than 50%, then a dehumidifier may be an unnecessary purchase. If you want to be sure, though, you can buy a cheap humidity gauge for $10 or $20 — either online or at a local hardware store.
  • A ceiling fan may seem like a frivolous expense for a screened in porch, but you’ll be mighty glad you have one on hot, humid days! You might think that large window screens would provide ample circulation for an outdoor porch, but unless there’s a breeze — either natural or man made — then that hot air will often just sit there and linger, much like a guest who has overstayed their welcome! A ceiling fan can pull that uncomfortable air away from you and stir up some much-needed circulation. Ceiling fans, which typically cost between $100 and $200 (plus installation) — create both the look and feel of a cool, breezy environment. They also help reduce air conditioning costs inside your home.

Since everyone’s personal needs, budgets, and lifestyles are different, there are a lot of factors that come into play when deciding whether to purchase (or postpone) any of these three items. Hopefully, this blog post has provided you with some helpful insights on making those decisions!

Green Living Tips: Heating and Cooling Your Home

Keeping a house cool in the summer and warm in the winter on the cheap is not the easiest place to cut back when budgeting. But, on top of preventing your wallet from shrinking, there is even more reason to preserve energy on heating and cooling your house: the environment. The amount of energy your house uses affects the environment just as much as your wallet and is well worth investing time and effort into to prevent higher usage than necessary.

Below are a few tips to save on energy whether it’s winter or summer:

Make the most of your windows – Opening windows means more sunlight to keep your house warmer in the winter and more breezes to keep your home cool in the summer. Investing in thermal curtains will help you maintain temperatures within the house. Keep curtains open during the day to allow the sunlight to warm your home and closed at night to keep out the chill during the colder to months. In the warmer months keep them closed during the day to keep out the heat and open at night to let in the cooler breeze.

Know where your weak spots are – Having a home energy audit performed will show you exactly where energy is being lost in your home. This will allow you to make smart upgrades in your home where it really counts.

Stop leaks in their tracks – Storm windows are great for the winter and, believe it or not, summer months too. The space between the windows keeps warmth in during the colder months and heat out in the warmer months. Draught-stoppers, cheap and easy to DIY, is also a great way to preserve the desired temperature in your home. Another easy to install option to save on energy is weather stripping your doors and windows.

Check your ratings – R-value is a rating scale of an insulation’s ability to prevent heat flow. The higher the R-value the more efficient the insulation. Living in New England you will want to look for a higher R-value in the type of insulation you invest in. Since heat rises you will want to use insulation with a higher R-value on the top floors of your house than those on your lowers floors.

Be a control freak – Installing an easy to use programmable thermostat is a great way to manage the temperature in your home. Set up timers that keep your home warmer while you are awake and at home in the winter months and set to a lower temperature while you are out for the day or asleep for the night. In the summer set up your timer to keep your home cooler while you are home and to use less energy while you are out of the house for the day.

While it takes an investment of time and money upfront ensuring that your home efficiently uses energy when cooling and heating your house will benefit you for years to come. One of the great perks to being frugal about your home’s energy usage is that it will also shrink your impact on the environment. With perks like that, you can’t lose!