Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 3/19/2018

If you're at a loss to explain why your money seems to disappear so quickly, every month, your utility bills may be partly to blame. The solution to lowering your energy-related expenses involves a combination of high-tech approaches and old-fashioned methods. On the high-tech side, it pays to program your thermostat so that you're automatically adjusting your energy usage when your family is sleeping, at work, or at school. There's no need to make the house perfectly comfortable when no one's at home! If the idea of programming electronic devices causes you to break out in a cold sweat, then maybe you can ask your HVAC technician to set it up for you the next time he stops by for a service call or furnace tuneup. (Hey, you never know unless you ask!) Another way to save money on your energy bill is to use your clothes dryer less. This strategy is simple, but effective. Buy an old-fashioned clothes line, hang it up securely in your back yard, and use it to air-dry some of your laundry. I'm not saying it should replace your clothes dryer -- especially in the cold winter months. However, it can be an effective, low-tech method to reduce the energy demands you place on your dryer. There's also the option of drying some of your clothes on a drying rack. Fixing Leaks, Lighting, and Insulation Two common plumbing problems that many homeowners endure are toilets that run 24/7 and faucets that leak. While it may not seem that these relatively minor issues are going to impact your water bill, those leaks can and do add up over an extended period of time. Not only that, but the continual sound of your toilet tank running and your faucet dripping can be quite annoying! If you have the phone number of a reasonably priced plumber who can fix those problems, it'll pay to have him stop over. From an electricity standpoint, you can save money by replacing your incandescent light bulbs with Energy Star certified bulbs. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, these energy-efficient bulbs use 70-90% less energy than standard bulbs, they last 10 to 25 times longer, and produce substantially less heat. The fact that they generate up to 90% less heat makes them safer and more energy efficient, too -- particularly during the summer. As a side note, you can also save energy during the holidays by using Energy Star certified decorative light strings! Yet another way to make sure your home is energy efficient and cost effective is to check the insulation in the attic and other areas. If you're considering purchasing a home that is inadequately insulated, you could consider asking the seller to correct that problem, as a condition of the sale. An alternative approach would be to use that deficiency (and/or others) as a negotiating chip to get the price lowered. Whether you're buying or selling a house, an experienced real estate agent can help you negotiate mutually agreeable terms and successfully guide you through the twists and turns of real estate transactions!

Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 10/24/2016

Moving can be an expensive endeavor. Even if you decide to rent a truck and move your belongings yourself there are lots of other expenses that can add up. Luckily, there are a few simple ways consumers can save money hauling their belongings from their current home to the next one. Purge your things. Instead of moving things that you don't use sell or donate them. If you decide to donate items to charity, you could save lots of time and even get a tax deduction. Move on a less popular day. The most popular time to move is at the end of the month. Since most closings happen and leases are up at the end of the month there’s more competition for the trucks and moving crews. Moving at the end of the month will also cost you more. Choose your moving date midweek, closer to the middle of the month. Packing materials like bubble wrap and foam peanuts are costly. If you are packing your own items use things you have around the house like bed linens, towels and clothing to pad your items. You can also use newspapers and tissue paper from gift bags. Be careful when using newspaper as the newsprint will smudge on dishes and other items. Don't buy moving boxes check Freecycle and Craigslist for free ones first. Ask around, your friends may have boxes suitable for moving.

Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 6/29/2015

The warmer weather is here. If you don't have air conditioning or just want to save money by not turning it on as often there are lots of ways to keep cool. So before you turn on the air or get overheated here are some tips on how to cool down your home as well as some tips for cooling yourself.   1. Keep the blinds shut Keep the heat out by closing your blinds, curtains and windows during the day. This will block the sun's heat. Keep everything shut until night falls and its cool enough to open the windows. 2. Open the windows After nightfall open the windows to allow the cool night air to blow throughout house. 3. Use a fan Place ceiling fans and window fans in upstairs rooms to draw off the heat and push the heat outdoors. Set up fans to suck up the cooler air from the floor below, and blow the hot air upwards towards the ceiling. 4. Create your own air conditioner Believe it or not you can make your own air conditioner. Place a metal bowl of ice in front of a fan, and adjust the fan so that the air is blowing over the ice. 5. Avoid adding heat Don't add heat to your home especially during the day. Wait until the evening to take a hot shower, wash dishes and clothes or turn on the oven.

Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 6/1/2015

Greening up your home is not only good for the environment it is also good on your wallet. According to the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. generates about 208 million tons of municipal solid waste a year, that's more than 4 pounds per person per day. Here are some minor changes you can implement at home that will add up to real benefits. Green up your appliances Replace your old refrigerator and save as much as $150 a year. Appliances are the biggest drain on a home's total energy bill. Replace appliances older than 10 years with energy-efficient models that bear the "Energy Star" logo. Energy Star-qualified appliances use 10%-50% less energy and water than standard models. Take Your Temperature Use a programmable thermostat to keep your home's temperature on a schedule. Program the thermostat in cold weather and keep it higher in warm weather. Set the timer to only change the temperature when you are home. During the colder months, each degree below 68°F saves 3%-5%. You may also want to consider replacing older furnaces. Today's furnaces are about 25% more efficient than they were in the 1980s. Use Water Wisely Save every time you flush by installing low-flow toilets. They use only 1.6 gallons per flush, compared to 3.5 gallons per flush for pre-1994 models. Save water at your faucets by installing aerators. This could cut your annual water consumption by 50%. Let there be Light Using Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) will consume 66% less energy. CFLs may cost a little more but they last 10 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb. In dollars and cents, replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 32-watt CFL can save $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. Practice Plastic Placement Did you know Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags? — Plastics (grocery, trash and sandwich bags to name a few) are made from petroleum. Plastics are considered one of the main contributors to global warming. Always make sure to reduce, re-use and recycle your plastics. There are many more ways to live green. If you are looking for more ideas check out National Geographic's Green Guide. Please share your tips for saving money, energy and living green.

Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 3/16/2015

Who doesn't love a bargain? Some of the best shopping deals these days can be found online. Savvy shoppers even know that some days are even better than others to find the biggest savings., a website that looks at online retailers, ran a survey to see what days of the week online websites offer the biggest discounts. Here is what they found: Mondays: If you are looking for men's and women's dress pants try Mondays. ShopItToMe found the average sale price is about 48 percent off. The site also found Mondays are great for purchasing sunglasses with an average discount of around 55 percent. Tuesdays: If you are shopping for men's clothes, it may be pants on Mondays but all other men's apparel is typically on sale on Tuesday with a discount around 42 percent. Wednesdays: You can save an average of 38 percent on shoes. Also look for great deals on kids' clothing with an average discount around 40 percent. Thursdays: Handbags lover's Thursdays typically offer a 36 percent savings. Fridays: Once you have purchased a new handbag you will need accessories to match. Look for an average of 42 percent off jewelry, belts and scarves. Saturdays: Underwear and outwear are on deep discount on Saturdays. Shoppers can save an average of 37 percent on intimates and a whopping 51 percent on jackets and outerwear. Sundays: Swimsuit prices are reduced approximately 52 percent on Sundays. What are your best online shopping tips?

Categories: Money Saving Tips