Category Archives: Featured
Depending on the long-term plan for your home, there could be a number of “green” investments you should be considering as a cost-savings plan. Those looking to live in their house for just a few short months or years might not care about the maintenance costs as much, but they are very important to those who are looking to stay in their homes for the long run.
We have all been affected by the rise in the price of electricity, natural gas, water, and all of the other necessary utilities we pay for. However, instead of petitioning your local government leader, which more often than not is proved ineffective, take matters into your own hands. For years, environmentalists have been hard at work developing systems that save the planet by using less water, producing less electricity, and disturbing less natural habitat for mining and sourcing of other resources we often use in our homes without thinking. However, the time is nigh for us economists, (if we can call ourselves that) to get on board. Using less usually means paying less, am I right? On top of that, there are many financial incentives at the local and state level for embracing environmental retrofits in our homes.
Though some of these are better suited for large homes or institutions, many of these environmental solutions can be adapted to fit your home, and save you money over the years.
- Solar Panels
Many rule off solar panels as expensive, however, due to their popularity and the growing market, the price of solar systems has gone down significantly over the last ten years. Today, many individuals can afford to install a couple of panels on their roofs, especially when you take into account government subsidies. Depending on the climate you are located in and the space you have on your property, you can virtually decrease your electricity bill by half, or in some cases, be completely self-sufficient and sell the extra electricity you produced back into the grid.
- Hydronic Heating
Heating bills can get quite high in places with a harsh winter. Instead of paying for heating the air in your house, why not install a hydronic system which heats your home by circulating warm water under your floors. This gives the residents better control over the temperature of their house, as well as eliminating noise. Thanks to the fact that you are not pushing air around through a ventilation system, it’s also a cleaner and healthier alternative to traditional heating. Consult with plumbers specializing in hydronic heating system to have a better understanding of what this retrofit will mean for you financially. You’ll spend less money because you are getting a more efficient heating system, and the environmentalists in you will smile because fewer resources are being used and you still have the same result: a cozy home!
- Roof Smart
We all know that roofs have a limited lifespan- especially the tar shingle ones which most people tend to use in North America. However, though the immediate cost might be greater, there is a solid range of high-quality options which will not just last you longer, but will make your home more energy efficient by reducing thermal transfer, reflecting solar rays, and therefore providing lower heating and cooling costs.
- Low-Water Toilets
Have you ever really looked at a toilet and wondered why there was so much water in the bowl? Environmentalists certainly have! When you replace your regular toilet with a low water toilet, you literally stop flushing money away. And if you are worried about making sure that everything “goes down”, be comforted by knowing that for situations like that, there is an option for flushing with a fuller stream.
Staying green certainly pays off if you’re in it for the long run! If you are looking at shorter timelines, remember that these efficiencies are selling points for your home and add to its resale value, whether you continue to live where you are or not.
While those with a professional background in contracting, construction, or related trades are welcome to look away, this post is for those American who have, are, or will be attempting to complete home renovation projects alone.
Investing in your home by staying on top of updates and necessary renovations is an important part of being a responsible home owner. However, some want to add value so badly, that they are willing to complete these renos alone, even if they have never even attempted anything similar in the past. In some cases, this positive, get-to-it attitude gives great returns, however there are certain projects which only the trained and skilled should attempt. Trying to bypass hiring a professional can not only have the potential of backfiring, it can end in a total and complete disaster.
Here are some projects you should never take on unless you have the licensing to do it legally:
- Electrical Work
There are a few reasons while electricians are always in high demand. For one, even if you plan on trying to get the wiring done yourself after finding a video tutorial on YouTube, you still need to hire an electrician. Why? Because in order for you not to void your own home insurance, you need to have an electrician come and sign off on the work done. By doing so, they certify that everything is up to code and is deemed safe. If something is off, you’ll most likely end up paying him to fix it and then give his stamp of approval. Was it even worth you trying in that case? Most often the answer is no. Another reason why DIY is not the best option for electrical work is because the risks created by doing it wrong are huge. Electrical fires are a common cause for home destruction in America, and if the insurance company finds out that it was due to your “fiddling”, you’ll get no help at all.
Plumbing is heavy-duty work which requires a lot of specialized equipment and tools. However, sometimes eager DIY advocates have no problem renting the equipment and getting down to work. The problem is that there is a lot more to plumbing than putting in tubes. Like an electrician, it’s a specialized trade with a specific code which the plumber uses to make sure that you and your family are safe in your home. There are a lot of risks involved with pressure and such, so if you do end up trying to manage it yourself, be prepared to get messy and risk ruining other aspects of your house, like floors, ceilings, walls, and more. Having a good relationship with a qualified and honest plumbing service is never a bad thing. That way you have access to qualified technicians for all types of emergencies regarding your plumbing problems, no worrying or waiting for parts to get in.
- Gas Work
Installing or modifying the natural gas in your home is probably a game that you should not play. Not only is having a gas leak a big possibility with even bigger repercussions, you also need a professional’s stamp of approval, very similarly as what you need from an electrician for electrical work. The safety of your family, and that of your home insurance policy, rests in this rule.
- Structural Work
If you are looking to add value to your home with the smallest financial investment on your end, the last thing you would want to happen is to have your home sink or collapse. However, this is a real possibility for those who attempt to do structural work without a full understanding of what it entails. Putting up additions, moving walls, or opening a space should all be approved and overseen by a qualified professional. Of course, you can jump in and do the dry walling and the painting, however let the engineers calculate the bearing loads of walls and beams while you calculate the returns on your home renovation investment.
Adding value to your home through renovations can be a great way to boost your investment portfolio. However, it’s never worth it if it’s not done correctly. Always look for good quality and thoroughness when hiring a contractor to work on your home, and if you are going to do it yourself, get a second opinion on your work.
Most of us here on American Debt Project are looking for a way to become financially stable and liberated. However, often on this journey towards achieving this goal, we overwhelm ourselves with constantly calculating, comparing, researching, and maximizing our time and money. No matter what your financial situation is, it’s not worth driving yourself into a state of anxiousness and desperation in order to attempt to fix it.
Eliminating debt is all about balance and applying simple strategies to get real results. Though it’s definitely a lifestyle change, it’s not the sole purpose of your existence, and some of us have trouble facing this truth.
There are situations in which it is worth paying a premium to have peace of mind, even if that means losing out on some savings or even paying extra:
It seems that everyone has a love/hate relationship with insurance. Though we see the value in having it in case everything goes wrong- not all of us have had to use it. When you calculate your payments over the years on your home, car, business, appliances, or even computer, you’ll find that it’s not always “worth it”. But the thing about insurance is that there’s no way to predict whether or not you will ever need it. However, we choose to have it because we know that otherwise we would have a very hard time financially dealing with and recovering from a blow like a destroyed home or totaled car. On top of all of this, there is the case for giving you the peace of mind to sleep at night. No worrying whether your rental car will be scratched or if you fall sick on your honeymoon- insurance has got you covered!
- Postage Tracking
Though we know that “snail mail” has become a much quicker and more effective way of moving information and items than it used to be, there are still many things that can go wrong. Those of us on a budget are often tempted to go with the cheapest mailing option, even if it is the slowest, because we want to save money. However, depending on what the contents are, you might want to consider a better option which includes tracking and maybe insurance as well. Otherwise, you risk losing the entire value you are sending plus the cost of the postage, even if it was the cheapest one. This is especially important if you are shipping products out to clients who value having a tracking number and would be deeply unsatisfied if their purchase did not come on time. Having postage tracking also keeps you informed and not double guessing whether or not your recipient has successful received the item.
Security today is much more complicated than it used to be, as risk has gone past a physical one and now affects the virtual realm. If you want to decrease your stress levels and leave the worrying to the experts, carve out a sum in your budget that will cover things like alarm systems, virus protection services, and a lock for your gym locker. If you are going to waste time and sleep worrying about it, it’s a much better idea to let go of that anxiety and trust that your safeguards are sufficient to keep you, your family, and your personal and business information safe.
- Moving Team
Moving houses can be a stressful time. On top of all the expenses, all the paperwork, and the packing, there is also the elevated risk of your belongings either being damaged or going missing. Your entire life’s belongings are literally in the hands of the strangers who make up your moving team. Choose a company offering high quality moving services to have peace of mind during this busy time, and direct your energy into something more productive.
- Home Inspections
When purchasing a home, especially one that seems to be “the one”, it’s easy to just want to jump at the occasion. However, to quiet that niggling voice at the back of your mind, it’s best to put down a condition in your offer regarding purchase upon a successful home inspection. A house is a big investment, and you want to make sure that you are confident in the condition of this building. The money spent on a professional home inspection will give you that extra bounce in your step as you know that you are making a sound financial investment.
Sometimes paying for peace of mind is actually a better investment of your money overall, as we have seen in these examples. Remember to value yourself and your health when making financial decisions.
Borrowing power is an important and helpful trait to possess. The ability to borrow definitely lends an assist when liquid cash flow is limited. Expenses and obligations do not take a holiday due to someone’s lack of liquidity. Borrowing does offer fiscal support in these times.
Not all is perfect for everyone, though. A loan applicant may find it difficult to borrow money if he or she is in the unfortunate situation of already being in debt. That said, debt does not automatically disqualify someone from being able to borrow. A car title loan could be procured no matter how indebted an applicant is.
Still, it would be helpful to explore all viable options for increasing and improving borrowing power when debt gets too high.
Address the Debt
The reason lenders are leery about lending money to someone who is in debt is concern over repayment. A person who is already in debt is not able to repay what is currently owed. He/she is simply a risk. So, paying back debt needs to become a priority. Those who do not need to borrow money at present may wish to think about the future. Making the repayment of debt a major priority may increase approval chances for a loan. This is a process that needs to start at some point. Additionally, paying down debt would have a positive impact on credit score and personal finances, two very important things.
Curtailing spending may be one way to cut down on debt. Often, overspending is the root of many financial problems. Reassessing one’s budget and getting spending under control could improve borrowing power and eliminate scores of unwanted and burdensome troubles.
Increase Income Potential
One major reason would-be borrowers are declined is they do not make enough income for the loan. Working at upping income streams is worth putting time and effort into. Yes, this is easier said than done but nothing is going to get done without a concentrated effort.
Boosting income is empowering in many ways. Access to more funds allows for covering the costs of necessities much more easily. Discretionary income increases as well. Of course, more income makes it easier to pay down nagging debt and eliminating all the problems associated with debt.
Working a little harder or getting a second job does not need to be a grind. Making money from a hobby, for example, could aid in driving annual revenues and earned income up.
Determine All Available Collateral with Clarity
A collateral loan may be available to those whose credit history and debt situation is less than perfect. Lenders all have different criteria when reviewing an application and looking at a credit history. Collateral definitely increases the chances of being approved for a loan.
Valuable collateral such as rare antiques could secure a sizable loan. Putting up a motorcycle or car as collateral may be preferable by some institutions since they are easier to sell if the loan defaults. Take this as a basis for the growth of the car title loan industry.
Performing an audit of one’s belongings may be a good move. There might be more collateral available than initially thought.
Improved Borrowing Capacity
Borrowing power is not always easy to increase, but enhancing this power might be less difficult than imagined. An effective strategy that employs simple steps to increase income, pay down debt, and examine collateral could be more than enough to expand borrowing horizons.