How To Budget Without Giving Up What You Love

flying-639522_640No two budgets are alike, nor are any two people. We all are different and have our own budget needs. As you get ready to set your new budget for the month, here are a few tips on saving some money without sacrificing what you love.

Entertainment. If you and your spouse love movies, but don’t want to drop a ton of cash (especially on popcorn); set aside a night to put the kids to bed, pop some popcorn, and curl up to a perfectly wonderful movie you can stream. Just think, no one kicking the back of your chair while during the film.

Gyms. Staying healthy is important but you don’t want to break the bank while you are trying to stay healthy. Instead of paying those high prices at the gym, consider an online streaming service (free or paid) where you can still stay fit and save some money at the same time.

Travel. It is important to get away everyone now and again. As you are planning your next trip, research areas that are great local dives that are off the beaten path and don’t have the inflated tourist prices. Also, Groupon is another excellent place to find great deals at a reasonable price.

Be creative in the your ways to save money and not sacrifice on the things you love to do.

Winterize Your Home (And Yard) With These 3 Tips

Winter is almost here and before the snow starts falling, take this time to start winterizing your home and yard for those cold months. As you start making your list of everything that needs to get done, be sure to add these 3 things:leaves-591191_640

  1. Winterize your lawn. Fertilize your lawn to ensure it has the nutrients to keep it healthy until spring. This is also an excellent time to aerate your grass to help get those nutrients into the soil. Run a rake over the lawn to clear it of any debris that might suffocate the lawn and cause serious damage.
  1. Run the heating system in your home. This one can get overlooked, especially when it isn’t that cold, but run the system now to ensure everything is running correctly and efficiently. Now is the best time to know if there are some problems instead of during the freezing cold months.
  1. Clean your chimney. Who doesn’t love a crackling fire during the cold winter months? Make sure your chimney is ready for the winter by taking the time now to clean out any debris or rodents who may have moved in. Also verify the smoke is drifting up by lighting some newspaper and ensuring there are no obstructions in the chimney.

Do you have anything to add to the list? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

3 Tips for Adding to Your Home’s Appeal

When was the last time you lost yourself in a home design magazine, website, or everyone’s favorite, Pinterest? We all want to make our homes look their best, adding a more luxury feel, and cozy. Help make your home more comfortable with these 3 tips:couch-881125_1280

Declutter. Knickknacks, piles, and clutter can really drain your spirit when at home. Give your home a refreshing feel by taking time to throw out stuff you no longer want, or love, and what doesn’t mesh your home decor or style.

Lighting. Light can add an ambiance to your home in a great way that helps make the rooms in your home bigger. Proper lighting can also make your more inviting and adds to your home’s appeal for potential buyers.

Repaint. Giving your walls, trims, and even front door a fresh coat of paint can really help to make your home look as good as new.

There are many great ideas you can do to enhance your home’s appeal. Allow your creativity to go wild and have fun as you make your house a home.

Save Thousands on Your Car With These 3 Tips

If you are like the most of us, you are looking for ways to save a few pennies on your car. After a home, cars are the second largest purchase people make. While you are finding ways to save money at the pump, here are a few other tips to help you save money:coins-912719_640

Stop idling. If you are parked and waiting for a while, turn off the engine. Research from the Argonne National Laboratory showed that you can waste up to a quarter of a half gallon of fuel per hour by idling (plus it is bad for the environment). Also, restarting your car only uses up about 10 seconds of fuel.

Ask for a mileage discount. If you work from home or take your bike to work, talk to your car insurance company about a possible discount.

Check the apps on your phone. A personal favorite of mine is GasBuddy which can help you find the lowest gas prices around you. Note, it is not worth your time (or money) to drive out of your way to find cheaper gas.

Learn more about saving money on your car, here.

Do Your Windows Need an Update?

SMflowerpots-house-window-2539Updating your windows will not only make your home look better, but will add to your home’s value. To better decide which window best fits your style, here are the various styles to choose from:

1. Double-hung. This is the most popular style. The top and bottom sashes move up and down independently, letting in more air. They’re a great option with young children or pets, since you can keep the bottom closed for safety, but open the top for ventilation. Most models have sashes that tilt in or come out for cleaning.

2. Single-hung. This very basic window opens only from the bottom. The top sash doesn’t move. They’re less expensive than double-hung, but can be hard to clean from the inside.

3. Casement. These are hinged on the side with a crank at the bottom that opens them. Older homeowners prefer casements to double-hung windows you push up and pull down. The crank also makes for easy opening in hard to reach locations, such as over a kitchen sink.

4. Sliders. This design uses panels that slide on a track. It sometimes includes a fixed middle panel, with two sliding side windows. It’s another good option for older homeowners because there’s no lifting. This style also provides great ventilation and big views.

5. Picture. This is simply a large, fixed window that gives an unobstructed picture of the view it provides. It is often combined with double-hung or casement windows on each side.

6. Bay. This style uses three windows at 35° or 45° angles. They can be fixed picture windows, casement, or double-hung. Bay windows are great in living rooms and master bedrooms, especially with a window seat. Their angled surfaces let in lots of light.

7. Bow. This is a rounded bay window. The shape is created by putting three, five, seven, or nine narrow casement, double-hung, or fixed windows at 10° angles to each other.

8. Awning. This window is hinged across the top and opens outward from the bottom. The design is good for high locations, above a door or another window.

9. Basement hopper. This is the opposite of an awning, hinged at the bottom and opening in from the top. It’s usually used to let light and air into basements.

10. Geometric. These are fixed units that come in a variety of shapes. They’re used alone as an accent, or above a large window or door. Geometrics add style and can bring light into large foyers and hallways.

Each state provide various benefits for those who update their homes for better green energy. To find out what subsidies your state offers, check out this website.

This information was provided by Danene Strand of Veritas Funding.

5 Tips to Pinpoint Your Right Home Online

When you’re ready to start your home search online, don’t let the sheer volume of listings overwhelm you. Below are some tips to help youreal-estate-516768_640 narrow down your search results on remax.com and make it much easier to streamline the list of homes you want to visit.

1. Be smart about pricing.By now you’ve probably already contacted a lender to figure out exactly how much you’re preapproved to borrow for your new place – and then from there determined how much you’re actually willing to spend on a home. (What you can borrow oftentimes is higher than what you might be comfortable spending.) When you begin your search online, the absolute high-end of your budget isn’t the figure you should enter into your search criteria.In today’s competitive market, many buyers find themselves in the middle of a bidding war to secure their dream home. Houses can sell for several thousand dollars more than the original asking price. It might be a good idea to go into your online search knowing you could end up paying more for a home than it’s listed for online. With this in mind, set the price search filter lower than your true maximum price. This way you have some flexibility to compete and increase your offer if other buyers submit offers on your top pick. Another way remax.com helps in your search is to automatically show the newest listings at the top of your results, giving you the opportunity to get your bid in as soon as possible.2. Consult the map.

You’re looking at pictures of the perfect house. There’s a fenced-in yard for your dog. The garage has plenty of space to store your camping gear. Your kids will love the Jack-and-Jill style bathroom. But just as you’re about to contact the agent, you notice a deal-breaker – your commute to your new job would take twice as long as you wanted.

Avoid the heartbreak of discovering the perfect home is in a less-than-perfect location by using the remax.com mapping functions. After you filter properties based on pricing, number of bedrooms, and other criteria you set, this function shows homes as pins on a map. You can zoom in to focus on homes within walking distance to your kids’ new school, for instance, and you’ll also get an idea of what restaurants and other amenities are nearby. Plus, you can create a My RE/MAX account to access additional features like INRIX Drive Time, which shows commute times to and from a property at various times throughout the day.

3. Remember, photos and videos are only 2D.

Although it’s true that agents can do a great job of capturing a home’s character in photos and videos, there’s still only so much these images can convey. Maybe the neighborhood is described as “secluded,” but it’s still close enough to hear the train come through town. Or when you look closer, you’re unsure if the cabinets are maple or oak.

These types of uncertainties are why it’s important to see a home in person before you make a decision to buy. Your real estate agent will happily schedule showings for you. But if choosing an agent isn’t something you’re ready to do right now, there is a way to see properties and start narrowing down your wants, needs and options: open houses. On remax.com, you can filter search results to see homes with an upcoming open house. The feature also posts the dates and times you can stop by to see the properties in person.

To get an even better feel for the area, you also can view demographic data and browse a neighborhood overview.

4. Search your top neighborhood choices.

Make a trip across almost any city and you’ll encounter several different pockets of culture and attitude. One part of town might pride itself on being the historic city center while another is all about modernism. Perhaps the reason you’re in the market for a new home is that you want to shift to the lifestyle a specific neighborhood offers. To search for a specific area on remax.com, type the name of the area you want to live in, followed by “Neighborhood” and the state you’re looking in. If the neighborhood you’re looking for is listed (many, but not all, neighborhoods will appear), you’ll see search results showing all available properties in that area. Now that’s convenience!

5. Balance character with upkeep.

Another important search feature is the age of the property. Deciding whether or not you’re interested in purchasing an older home is a perfect example of how the wants and needs in a home differ for each buyer. You may have always wanted a home with exposed brick inside, but are you willing to pay to update the older plumbing that might come with it? Whether you’re open to taking on maintenance that may come with an older home or you’d rather avoid projects altogether and stick to brand-new homes, the “Age of Home” filter on remax.com can help you narrow down your search results.

-Originally posted at RE/MAX