The cost of heating can really take a toll on us over the colder fall and winter months. Having a programmable thermostat can help in cutting heating costs and still staying warm. But just having one isn’t enough – you need to know how to use it to its full potential!

Programmable thermostats have the ability to be programmed so that you can have multiple temperature settings through out the day. The benefit of this, is not having to think about turning down the heat before you leave for work, or cranking it up when you get home. Instead, you get heating at the exact temperature you want, when you want.

So what temperatures should you set it to exactly? While you are home and awake, setting it to 68 degrees is a pretty standard temperature. While you are away from home, or sleeping, reducing it to 58 degrees should be tolerable. Of course, reducing the temperature even more than that while you are out of the house is possible, just don’t make it too low and freeze your water pipes.

Reducing your thermometer by 10-15 degrees for 8 hours (like while you are at work) you can save 5-15% off your heating bill. So the benefits can really pay off for reducing your heat while you are at work. For example: if you pay $200 a month in heating, reducing the heat by 15 degrees during the day will save $10-$30 a month which can add up to $60-$180 for the year if you use the heat for 6 months.

Finding ways to cut costs is important to everyone during tough economic times. Every penny counts. So add this money saving tip to your list and you could start racking up the savings.

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Everyone wants a deal especially when purchasing a big ticket item like a house. In order to get a good deal you have to be a great negotiator. If you are on the hunt for a housing bargain you need to be prepared and sharpen your negotiation skills.

Here are some tips to get you on your way to buying success:

Do Your Homework: Gather information about the property. Find out about recent repairs and improvements or renovations. Review the seller disclosure statement look for details, such as the age of the roof and systems in the home.

Know the Market: Find out what other homes are selling for in your price range. Ask your real estate agent to do a comparative market analysis on the home you are interested in. The comparative market analysis will compare the home to homes that have recently sold and homes that are currently on the market.

Be Prepared: Before you start shopping for a home get your credit in order.The higher your credit score, the better the chance you’ll get a good deal on a home loan. Once you have your credit in order start the mortgage process and get pre-approved. If you are pre-approved the seller will see you are a well-qualified buyer.

Be Reasonable: It is easy to let emotions get in the way. View the purchase as a business transaction. Approach the situation objectively, and don’t take the negotiations personally.

Negotiate: Start off your negotiation on the right foot,  don’t low-ball the seller with an insulting figure. This can immediately kill the transaction. Negotiation is a two way street. In most negotiations both parties compromise.

Be Smart: Stick within your budget and don’t let emotion take over when you are negotiating. Know what price you’re comfortable with and stick to it. This way you will be sure to buy a home that you can afford.

 

Owning a home is a dream come true for most people. To them, it is living the ideal life, for others, it is the worst decision they will ever make as far as their finances are concerned. The reason for this is that there was no proper in-depth analysis before they made the purchase. Many questions come to mind when it comes to owning a home, questions like, do I really need a home? Will I stay in this home long enough to reap the benefits of owning it? Am I ready for the financial responsibilities associated with owning this home? Owning a home is a major financial investment and should not be done without a proper understanding of all aspects of ownership. Below is a  look at the pros and cons of owning a home, this should help prospective home owners determine if owning a home is in their favor.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Home

There is the need to consider the financial impact owning a home will have on you. Would being a home owner have a positive effect on your financial position? Let us look at the advantages and disadvantages from a balanced point of view before arriving at a conclusion.

The Pros

  • As a home owner, you have greater privacy.
  • There is a great possibility that your home will increase in value.
  • You tend to have a stable cost as compared to renting because most mortgage rates are fixed.
  • Interest and property tax portion of your mortgage is tax deductible.
  • There is pride and a healthy self-esteem associated with owning a home.

The Cons

  • The financial commitment associated with owning a home is long term.
  • All maintenance related expenses associated with your home is your responsibility.
  • When you own a home, you are more likely tied to your community making it more difficult to suddenly relocate.
  • When buying a home, there is a down payment, mortgage payment and closing cost.
  • If you do not make the mortgage payment, your home can be taken by the bank.
  • There is no guarantee that the value of your home will increase.

Pros and Cons of Renting a Home

The Pros

Depending on your financial standing, renting a home might be a preferred option. Here are a few pros and cons associated with the renting.

  • It may be a cheaper option than buying a home with comparable size. Your rent might also cover the monthly utilities.
  • It affords more flexibility especially when you have a job that requires you to move from place to place.
  • Maintenance expenses are not on you. The landlord is responsible for all maintenance from plumbing to electricity as well as other expenses associated with household repairs.

The Cons

  • You are not entitled to a tax break. When you file for a tax return, you cannot claim deduction for property tax and mortgage.
  • Your rent is not fixed and there is the possibility that it would increase from year to year.

In summary, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether or not to buy a home as ownership is not for everyone. This important decision should be based on your present financial status, the nature of your job and what plans you have for the future.

Kids, since they are naturally curious, require special measures to ensure their safety. Whether this is your first child, or your fifth, everyone can use a refresher course about kid’s safety in the home. By being vigilant and following a few simple rules, you can help ensure that your kids stay safe in their own home.

Cover it Up

Those seemingly benign electrical outlets might not seem like they are out of the ordinary to you, but to your child, they might as well be magical. They seem to beg to have something, anything, poked into them. In order to protect you child from being shocked, or even electrocuted, invest in a couple packages of outlet covers. It is best to keep a few around since they tend to get misplaced when they are removed. Just be sure to keep loose outlet covers out of the reach of small children who still put things in their mouths. They can be a choking hazard.

Gate it Up

Baby gates, as they are commonly known, are also called safety gates. Unlike the ones popular in the past, these safety accessories no longer feature triangular shaped openings. Instead, many of them are made of a mesh pattern covering that eliminates the ability of the child to put their head through the opening.

While safety gates are often used to block the ability of the child to go up or down a set of stairs, they can be used for much more. You can keep your child in a particular room while you are busy with chores. Conversely, you can also keep your child from accessing a particular room by placing a safety gate at the opening.

These days, safety gates come in a variety of different widths, with many of them able to accommodate a range of openings. In addition, there are also many options when it comes to the latches that open the gate. This allows people with limited mobility to choose the gates that enable them to easily open them.

Safety Latches

Latches will keep your child out of the drawers and cabinets where you store your pots and pans, as well as any hazardous materials.  They help to keep your child safe while still allowing accessibility to the tools you need to complete your daily chores.

Today, you can find many different tools and resources to keep your kids safe in your home. After all, you want your home to be a source of comfort for them.

 

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