repairs http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6679/all en-US 8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/car_service_000017616649.jpg" alt="Car repairs you can easily do yourself" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the monthly expenses many of us forget to include in our budgets is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-slick-tools-to-save-money-on-car-repairs">car repair and maintenance</a>. Sure, we put down the price of gas, and maybe an oil change every two or three months, but we forget about most of the ongoing maintenance costs. Cars need regular maintenance over their useful lives, and most of us will pay through the nose to get it performed. But it doesn't have to be that way. With parts bought online, some simple tools, and a little basic knowledge, many car repairs can be done without visiting a mechanic.</p> <p>I talked to Richard Reina, the Training Director at <a href="http://www.carid.com/">CARiD</a>, about some of the easiest car repairs you can do at home. You can find most of the replacement parts at CARiD or similar sites, plus many instructional videos and fact sheets that will ensure you have the help you need every step of the way. I also talked to several mechanics, including a family member who has had over 20 years of experience fixing cars. He, like many other experts, was adamant that with preparation, you can save a lot of time and money on repairs.</p> <h2>1. Change Your Own Brake Pads</h2> <p>When I first heard that, my reaction was &quot;No way, I'm not messing with my brakes!&quot; But as Reina points out, it's a very simple and inexpensive procedure that mechanics and specialty brake shops will charge hundreds of dollars to do. The industry wants you to think it's hard, because they make a lot of profit from a very simple procedure, but pads are way easier to replace than old fashioned drum brake &quot;shoes.&quot;</p> <p>All you need is a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004SEXO3E/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004SEXO3E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HZG267264PF33LG4">wheel lug wrench</a>, some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004QO9MAU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004QO9MAU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NBJPGJ3TPWJWCZON">basic wrenches</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NPXI0G/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000NPXI0G&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4RW72BPDX4EJRYYP">pliers</a>, and of course a jack and set of jack stands (never get under a car unless it is on jack stands; you cannot rely on the jack as it may fail).</p> <p>A set of new brake pads will set you back just $20&ndash;$40, depending on the car and pad material. Compare that to the industry average of $250 per axle, and you can see how much this DIY job will save you. The procedure is basic. Take off the wheel, remove the hardware, pull out the worn pads, push in the caliper piston, install the new pads, and reinstall the hardware. You should be able to do all four wheels in under an hour, even if this is your first time doing the job. The new pads will last between 30,000&ndash;50,000 miles, and you should check them every 10,000 miles. When the pad thickness falls below 2mm&ndash;3mm, it's time for another replacement set.</p> <h2>2. Change the Battery</h2> <p>It amazes me how many people will get a shop to replace the battery, since this is by far the easiest of all DIY repairs. A battery will last 4&ndash;6 years, so you should be able to figure out when your current battery is ready to be changed. (Almost every battery will have a date stamped on it, so look for this if you want to be sure.) You <em>do not</em> want to wait until you start having problems. If you do, you could be stranded with a dead battery, and that's dangerous for many reasons.</p> <p>The average price of a new battery is around $80, although you can spend more or less depending on the make and model. A dealer will charge upwards of $200 to replace it.</p> <p>To do the swap, you just need a basic set of wrenches. The biggest warning here, Reina says, is the order in which you remove the replace the cables. Remove the NEGATIVE (black) cable FIRST, and when you have installed the new battery, replace the NEGATIVE cable LAST. If you don't do it this way, you could short circuit the positive (red) terminal to a grounded part of the car.</p> <h2>3. Do Your Own Oil Change</h2> <p>A typical quick lube place could charge anywhere from $30 to $70 for an oil change. Some can go as high as $90&ndash;$100, especially if you own an expensive import. But then you see signs like $15 oil change and think, &quot;Well I'd pay that for the oil and filter anyway, so why not let them do it for me?&quot;</p> <p>Here's why. First, there is always an asterisk on those oil changes. They come with conditions, and may not include the correct amount of oil required for your engine (this happens a lot when you bring in an SUV or truck). You will also be given a low-grade oil, rather than a full synthetic or even a synthetic blend. And most importantly, the cheap oil change is a loss leader.</p> <p>The loss-leader oil change is a great way to get you to hand over your car to the garage so that they can get under the hood and see if it has problems. A reputable place won't find any unless there are genuine problems. Others, well, let's just say they find problems that don't need attention.</p> <p>Suddenly, the $15 oil change has become thousands in major repairs. Poor establishments will use high-pressure tactics to get you to sign up for the work, and you may not even get the chance to get a second opinion.</p> <p>So, do it yourself. Buy a good quality oil filter and the best oil you can afford from your local supplier (it can be an auto specialist or a retail store). Other than jack stands and a jack, you'll need an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NPPB6U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000NPPB6U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=I2Q5NR76Q5CIAA3M">oil filter wrench</a> and a drain pan. These only have to be purchased once and will last you decades (my father-in-law has been using the same drain pan for 20 years). You can find videos online walking you through oil changes on a variety of different vehicles.</p> <p>And one final note. As Richard Reina points out, the days of the &quot;every 3,000 miles&quot; oil changes are long gone. Vehicles these days can often go 10,000 miles between oil changes. Check your manual.</p> <h2>4. Change Your Spark Plugs</h2> <p>There is an episode of the iconic TV series <em>Frasier</em> that shows Niles and Frasier Crane attending an automotive workshop. The very first lesson is how to change spark plugs. It's one of the easiest home repairs you can do, although these days it is very rare you'll even have to perform this service. On modern cars, extended-life spark plugs can maintain a precise gap for 100,000 miles. However, it is still wise to check them every 30,000-40,000 miles, just to make sure.</p> <p>When the time does come to replace your spark plugs, along with your regular set of tools you will need a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002KNZ8C/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002KNZ8C&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=URY7DFKT6D5FA6ZL">spark plug wrench</a>. Again, this is a &quot;buy once, use for a lifetime&quot; kind of purchase, and it's not very expensive (under $10 in most cases). (WikiHow has a great <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Change-Spark-Plugs-in-a-Car">instructional piece here</a>.) And the savings&hellip;let's just say it's significant. You can pay over $300 for spark plugs to be changed, and spark plugs themselves are rarely more than $30 for a set.</p> <h2>5. Replace a Headlight or Taillight</h2> <p>If you are a good car owner, you will perform a regular walk around of your vehicle. It's important to do this for many reasons, but one of the biggest is to check that all the lights are working. Not only are lights essential for clear vision, and alerting drivers to your intentions, but you can also incur traffic tickets if they aren't working. So, try and do this at least once a month (you'll need someone to help you check the taillights).</p> <p>If one (or more) isn't working, it's time to buy a replacement and do it yourself. With the average hourly repair rate of a garage being $100, you could easily spend $25&ndash;$50 per bulb, especially if the shop has a minimum charge.</p> <p>One of the most important things to do is bring the old bulb with you to the store. You want to make sure you are getting like for like. And, when it comes time to change it out, never touch the bulb glass with your bare hands. The grease from your fingers can cause the bulb to burn out early.</p> <h2>6. Replace Your Windshield Wipers</h2> <p>Some people go to a garage or dealership to have their windshield wipers replaced. This is, without a doubt, a massive waste of your time and money. A set of wipers will run you between $20 and $40 on average, plus the dealer will charge you one hour of labor (that's about $100). Don't throw your money away. It takes minutes to replace the wipers on your vehicle yourself, and all of the instructions are provided in the replacement wipers you buy.</p> <p>When you go to a store &mdash; say Walmart or Target &mdash; they'll have a reference manual (these days it's often a small electronic terminal) which will tell you which wiper sizes you need to ensure a correct fit. In most cases, the old wipers slide out, and the new ones slide in. The last time I changed my wipers, it took two minutes for both&hellip;and most of that time was spent trying to hack open the vacuum-sealed plastic package!</p> <h2>7. Replace Your Air Filter</h2> <p>Richard Reina pointed out another simple fix that mechanics and dealerships will heavily mark up with labor costs and parts. And yet, it is a very quick fix (in most cases&hellip;if you happen to own a German import, you may have a few extra parts to remove to access the filter). On average, you'll pay over $100 in labor costs, and $50 for the filter.</p> <p>The typical cost of an air filter from a retail store is between $15&ndash;$20, but again, this can be higher depending on the make and model of your car. In most cases, you will simply have to open up the hood of the car, turn a few screws, open the air filter housing, swap out the old for the news, and replace the screws. It really is that simple, and you can save a ton of money doing it yourself.</p> <h2>8. Fix a Chipped Windshield</h2> <p>I recently had to do this one myself, and I can tell you&hellip;it's so simple. I had a small rock chip in the windshield. I was tempted to go by one of those &quot;fix it free&quot; places that hang out near malls, but they operate through your insurance company, and I wasn't keen on going through all that for a simple rock chip.</p> <p>On Amazon or eBay, you can find <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GFS2C8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004GFS2C8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=TGVTUO2W4ELE2GOQ">windshield repair kits</a> for under $15. Some run as low as $8. When you get it, all you need to do is dig out any loose glass with the pin provided, and then thoroughly clean it, and the surrounding area. You will have to stick a small device to the windshield that forms a seal around the rock chip, and then a vacuum contraption will work to apply the resin into the crack. It's an operation that takes less than one hour, from opening the package to the finished result, and most of that is simply waiting time. Stop that crack from spreading, before you need to replace the entire windshield. That can be costly.</p> <p><em>Now, what services do you regularly perform on your own car that saves you time and money? Let us know in the comments below. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring">8 Easy Home Maintenance To-Dos for Spring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-change-the-bulb-just-remove-the-bumper-wait-what">To change the bulb, just remove the bumper. Wait, what? - UPDATED.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-quick-clothing-and-shoe-repair-fixes-you-should-own">15 Quick Clothing and Shoe Repair Fixes You Should Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-car-repair-mistakes-that-can-cost-you">8 Common Car Repair Mistakes That Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/remove-car-dents-quickly-and-cheaply">Remove Car Dents Quickly and Cheaply</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Cars and Transportation DIY fixing maintenance mechanic repairs vehicles Wed, 15 Jul 2015 17:00:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1484612 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Easy Home Maintenance To-Dos for Spring http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_home_improvements_000018550842.jpg" alt="Family doing easy jobs on spring home maintenance checklist" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ah, spring. The weather is warm again. You're outside enjoying life. And there's a heck of a lot of stuff that needs to get done. This season is one of the best to check many of those pesky <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-for-spring-cleaning-on-a-budget">home maintenance chores</a> off your to-do list. So read through our suggestions to see if you're forgetting any of the basics.</p> <h2>1. Cool AC Units</h2> <p>Now's the time to get your AC unit in order before the hot weather hits. Change any filters that might be dirty. Examine all lines running into your unit for leaks and kinks. If you suspect anything might be wrong with your machine, call in a professional. They'll check for levels of refrigerant, duct leakage, airflow, belt wear, and more. A little money now will prevent you from uncomfortable nights later.</p> <h2>2. Secure Roof Shingles</h2> <p>I've noticed we have a few shingles loose on our roof after the brutal winter. I spotted them from down the street as I walked toward our house. If you don't have a clear vantage point, try hopping up on a ladder. A sound roof will protect your home from leaks and other more costly issues. Our roof is quite high, so we'll be hiring a handyman. <a href="http://home.costhelper.com/roof-repair.html">Roof repair costs</a> can range between $95 to $127 to fix a few shingles, to upwards of $350 to repair larger sections.</p> <h2>3. Stop Persistent Pests</h2> <p>While you're at it, walk around your property and look for evidence of pests and infestations. There are a number of critters that can wreck havoc, including carpenter bees, termites, ants, wasps, and more. You can buy sprays and other eradicators at home improvement stores, but bigger infestations are best left to the professionals. Call around to get a couple free quotes from local companies. I have found them to be considerably cheaper than the nationwide chains.</p> <h2>4. Scrub Moldy Siding</h2> <p>Improve your curb appeal! If your vinyl siding is looking dingy and dirty, try using a power washer for a weekend to clean it up. You can <a href="http://home.costhelper.com/pressure-washing.html">rent a power washer</a> for around $40 to $75 per day. Professionals could cost you $750 or more, depending on the size of your home. A friend of mine hand-washes his house using a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water, a scrub brush, and a lot of elbow grease. Whatever way you choose to do it, you'll be cleaning off lots of nasty mold and mildew stains.</p> <h2>5. Redo Damaged Decks</h2> <p>How's your deck doing these days? Chances are you might need to reseal it or even stain for the first time. Before you start, clean your deck using a specially formulated cleanser or solution of vinegar and water. The jury is out on whether power washing is the best method, so we scrub ours by hand. After letting your deck dry for at least a day, apply a single coat of stain of your choosing. If your deck is in poor order, check to make sure it's still structurally sound and consider applying a product like <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/b/Paint-Deck-Patio-Restoration/BEHR-Premium-DeckOver/N-5yc1vZc7gvZc4x">BEHR DeckOver</a> or <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/b/Paint-Deck-Patio-Restoration/BEHR-Premium-DeckOver/N-5yc1vZc7gvZc4x">Rust-Oleum Restore</a>. These paints come in a variety of shades and can give even the most splintery old decks a new lease on life.</p> <h2>6. Close Caulk Gaps</h2> <p>Many of us focus on caulking windows before the cold weather hits, but spring and summer can present just as many challenges. Those of you who live in particularly hot climates could be losing tons of money (and efficiency) through the loss of your cool AC right out the window. Walk around your home &mdash; inside and out &mdash; taking note of any drafts or areas where you can see gaps. Concentrate your efforts particularly around door and window frames, air conditioners, where brick and wood siding meet, etc.</p> <h2>7. Clean Gutter Clogs</h2> <p>Surprisingly enough, your gutters might fill up with more debris <em>after </em>winter than they did in the fall. You'll want to examine the flow from gutters to downspouts during a rainstorm or check for any other damage (pulling away from the home, sagging, etc.). Cleaning is as easy as hopping on a ladder and scooping out the blockages using your hands or a wet/dry vacuum. You can even flush your gutters using your garden hose. As always, if your project seems too big or dangerous (ladders), you can get a professional to <a href="http://home.costhelper.com/gutter-cleaning.html">clean your gutters</a> for around $90 to $225 for a 2,000 square foot home.</p> <h2>8. Cover Driveway Cracks</h2> <p>Direct your attention to your walkways and driveway. Are there any areas that are cracked or even missing? If the damaged sidewalk is part of your city's responsibility, try requesting repairs through your local municipality. Otherwise, patch sidewalks by clearing the area of loose debris and spreading a layer of cement. It's a good temporary fix that should last several seasons before a total redo is necessary. You can refresh your driveway by filling cracks and then spreading driveway sealer to cover. Let dry for 24 to 48 hours before opening to your vehicles.</p> <p><em>What's on your home maintenance to-do list this spring?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-safest-cities-in-america-from-natural-disasters">10 Safest Cities in America from Natural Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-weird-and-wonderful-ways-to-use-vinegar">10 Weird and Wonderful Ways to Use Vinegar</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-one-month-guide-to-spring-cleaning">Your One-Month Guide to Spring Cleaning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new">18 Ways to Make Old Things Seem New</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Home maintenance repairs roofing spring cleaning Mon, 18 May 2015 15:00:08 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1421643 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Quick Clothing and Shoe Repair Fixes You Should Own http://www.wisebread.com/15-quick-clothing-and-shoe-repair-fixes-you-should-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-quick-clothing-and-shoe-repair-fixes-you-should-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_tights_heels_000043595558.jpg" alt="quick clothing and shoe repair fixes you should own" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Dress shoes losing heel caps, spills, a run in a pair of pantyhose&hellip; it's a jungle out there. My office desk drawers are a testament to 30+ years of dealing with &quot;work clothes&quot; emergencies. People come to me for repairs. I am the Office Mom of clothing emergencies.</p> <p>Over the years, I have learned how to make <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fix-18-common-wardrobe-malfunctions">quick fixes</a> inexpensively. Here are some tried-and-true fixes.</p> <h2>1. Pantyhose/Nylons</h2> <p>My number one solution is to keep a spare pair in my desk. However, sometimes even that back-up pair fails &mdash; and always right before a meeting or a presentation. Naturally! A squirt of hairspray will stop that run. If you don't have hairspray, a little clear nail polish will also do the trick. Unfortunately, both are smelly, so try to fix quickly so they have time to dry.</p> <h2>2. Instant Seamstress</h2> <p>I wish I had a nickel for every time someone has borrowed my <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CQR6C3O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CQR6C3O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4VBRI7RDXWGXEE4F">sewing kit</a>. Aside from the needle and thread, the most often-requested item is the tape measure. This kit also contains some buttons, which are very handy, as well as small scissors.</p> <h2>3. Click, Clack, Busted Heel Cap</h2> <p>Every woman's nightmare: The doggone broken heel cap. They never break at home, do they? Always, every darn time, at work or on your way somewhere. Unless you like limping and clicking around all day (and explaining it a million times), you might want to make a very small investment in these <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007V63Y8Q/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007V63Y8Q&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=TAUJEKDLWWY3E2FL">heel caps</a>.</p> <h2>4. Sole to Sole</h2> <p>Guys, if your <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008BIG4H6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008BIG4H6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=XXVQ777SFGVH67N4">shoe soles</a> are worn out, you may save money by trying the repair yourself &mdash; and the rubber is made by Goodyear! They work on both dress shoes as well as boots.</p> <h2>5. Expensive Leather</h2> <p>It's upsetting to spend a lot of money on leather shoes only to scuff or scratch them. That is why you might try this <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000XJRYQ6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000XJRYQ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=IYMJ7NIS2CSBUYEV">leather repair product</a>. You can even mix your own color. It also works on the couch, other furniture, car seats, coats, etc.</p> <h2>6. Sweater Saver</h2> <p>Ever <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWGtvznk11s">snag a favorite sweater</a>, and put a hole in it? Don't worry, you can fix it! What do you need? Just a simple sewing needle for a small hole, or a crochet needle for a larger one.</p> <h2>7. Stuck Zipper</h2> <p>This hint could not be cheaper. Where is that #2 pencil? First try rubbing the pencil on the zipper (the lead may lubricate it enough for it to work). If it is more complicated, check out this video for <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GdKGMBIl-o">un-sticking a zipper</a>.</p> <h2>8. Eyeglass Repairs</h2> <p>We even take our eyeglass repair kit with us on vacations &mdash; it is <em>that</em> handy. It can be really miserable to lose a screw in your glasses and be nowhere near an optometrist. This little <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000H3Q2FC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000H3Q2FC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CYVDSZR5ZFQCAE7Y">eyeglass repair kit</a> is inexpensive and easy to pack.</p> <h2>9. Deodorant Smudges</h2> <p>I seem to pull this move most of the time when I am wearing black, which is just peachy because then it <em>really</em> stands out. Try dampening a washcloth or towel, wring it out really well, and gently brush off the smudge. Don't use a paper towel, which will just make matters worse.</p> <h2>10. Pilly Sweater</h2> <p>Sometimes I fail to notice that my sweaters have pills. You know what I mean &mdash; the little fuzzy balls under your arms or along side seams. It looks pretty crummy. I love this <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0034BV6KA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0034BV6KA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BQOXTHGDOVBPO7CV">sweater shaver</a>, which gently removes those furry things and has never caused any harm to my favorite sweaters.</p> <h2>11. Lunch Disaster</h2> <p>I shouldn't be allowed to ever eat mustard, which usually ends up on me, not in me. My husband, who is a laundry wizard, bought me these nifty little <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EDW2JC8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00EDW2JC8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RQBO5IU4VFWSDD7G">stain wipes</a>. They fit easily into my purse and will tide me over (pun intended) until the clothing can be properly washed.</p> <h2>12. Hem on the Loose</h2> <p>Raid the office supply cabinet. Got packing tape? That will hold that hem until you can get it fixed properly. Don't be tempted to get out your stapler, which will damage the fabric.</p> <h2>13. Lint No More</h2> <p>My dogs have white fur. I like to wear black. See the problem? I buy lint brushes by the three-pack, but for the office, I love these <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Brushes-Travel-Compact-Purse-Pocket/dp/B005AJOB56/ref=sr_1_10?s=hpc&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1430191289&amp;sr=1-10&amp;keywords=lint+brushes">mini lint rollers</a> that fit in my desk or tote bag.</p> <h2>14. Sneaker Separation</h2> <p>This hint isn't that quick, since your shoes will need to dry at least overnight, but it's a good one. I wear my sneakers until the bitter end, so I was disappointed when a fairly new pair started &quot;flapping&quot; in the soles. They were otherwise in good shape and I didn't want to part with them just yet. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002L9AL84/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002L9AL84&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=3EDZ5PO4QAUIL2EE">Shoe Goo </a>to the rescue! My handy husband squeezed out a layer between the flapping soles and the shoes, let dry overnight, and the shoes were almost as good as new. It is also waterproof and really inexpensive. It also works on broken high heels.</p> <h2>15. The Last Resort</h2> <p>Buy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CCG97WW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CCG97WW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6WOICH2Q2YK45DMD">assorted safety pins</a>. Thank me later.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite, reliable, cheap sartorial save-the-dayers?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-quick-clothing-and-shoe-repair-fixes-you-should-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-wonderful-household-uses-for-essential-oils">13 Wonderful Household Uses for Essential Oils</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-attractive-standing-desks-you-can-actually-afford">11 Attractive Standing Desks You Can Actually Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-diy-dog-toys-you-can-make-for-pennies">10 DIY Dog Toys You Can Make for Pennies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks DIY clothes mending repairs shoes Tue, 12 May 2015 21:00:10 +0000 Marla Walters 1414198 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Budget Items You May be Forgetting http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/car_trouble_000046605260.jpg" alt="Woman stressed about car trouble she didn&#039;t budget for" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>By now, we should all be sticking to a solid budget &mdash; one which definitely includes a savings category. But, even the most financially sophisticated of us make little mistakes, often forgetting to budget for minor, miscellaneous, or unexpected expenses.</p> <p>Making this mistake can throw you off course and undermine efforts to create financial stability, a setback that can lead to frustration with the budgeting process. Avoid the drama by reviewing your budget and ensuring you're planning for these common, but often overlooked expenses.</p> <h2>1. Insurance Deductibles, Co-Pays, and Medical Supplies</h2> <p>No one expects to get sick, but we almost all ultimately do. So, why is this common expense so often not planned for? The money that is being budgeted for medical expenditures should include everything from deductibles and co-pays, to cough medicine and bandages. It should take into account common illnesses for each member of your family, including the family pet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds?ref=seealso">8 Ways to Spend Your Last Minute FSA Funds</a>)</p> <h2>2. Taxes</h2> <p>There are one of two ways in which unexpected taxes might slip up and throw off your budgeting goals: unexpected taxes on extra income, and failing to find good use for tax refunds. Regular Wise Bread readers know how important it is to create extra income. The extra money you earn can help to pay off debt and boost your savings. But, we often forget to set aside taxes on the income. Tax refunds will gradually help you build a nice nest egg and should always be put into some sort of savings or retirement account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-pay-your-taxes-heres-what-to-do?ref=seealso">Can't Pay Your Taxes? Here's What to Do</a>)</p> <h2>3. Miscellaneous Travel Expenses</h2> <p>Travel, planned or unplanned, occurs all the time &mdash; whether it's to attend a friend's destination wedding, tackle your bucket list, network for business, or a vacation. Though it's inevitable, it's one of the most mismanaged expenses in a typical budget. It's easy to forget to factor in additional costs like visas, tips, ground transportation, food and beverage, duty free buys, in-flight amenities, resort fees, and long-distance calling. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-travel-expenses-you-forgot-to-budget-for?ref=seealso">9 Travel Expenses You Forgot to Budget For</a>)</p> <h2>4. Home and Auto Repairs</h2> <p>Inevitably, machines will break down. And when they do, it disrupts our everyday lives. That's why we're willing to run out and replace them regardless of the expense. We will often finance the purchase because we failed to budget for it, and now it's an unexpected expense. So, factor in household and automobile maintenance and repairs into your budget and plan accordingly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for?ref=seealso">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a>)</p> <h2>5. Networking</h2> <p>Everyone's agenda should include networking opportunities, because it aids in creating a healthier financial life. Set aside money to attend fundraisers, workshops, networking events, and paying membership fees and dues. This should include any contributions made to support causes you believe in, membership organizations, and annual conferences.</p> <h2>6. Adult Learning</h2> <p>Maintaining a focus on career development will also have significant financial rewards. Continued education is required for most professionals, but whether it's a requirement or not, we should be thinking about developing a competitive edge &mdash; as many of us simply will not take out the necessary time to work on acquiring new skill-sets. Do this while you're young and do it often. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-continue-your-education-without-going-back-to-school?ref=seealso">8 Cheap Ways to Continue Your Education Without Going Back to School</a>)</p> <h2>7. Dressing for Success</h2> <p>Dressing for success is equally important as networking and adult learning. This, of course, pertains to budgeting for new clothes, but your budget should also include money for regular grooming, shoe and jewelry repairs, dry cleaners, staying fit, and any routine that is imperative to your personal and financial health. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-should-always-rent-clothes-instead-of-buy?ref=seealso">6 Times You Should Always Rent Clothes Instead of Buying</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you avoid budget mishaps?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-budget-for-summer-vacation">7 Easy Ways to Budget for Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for">4 Sneaky Investment Fees to Watch For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-first-step-to-budgeting">The First Step to Budgeting</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-family-lives-well-and-even-owns-a-home-on-just-11-an-hour">How One Family Lives Well (And Even Owns a Home) on Just $11 an Hour</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-save-money-on-food">8 Creative Ways to Save Money on Food</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting expenses hidden costs repairs saving money taxes Fri, 10 Apr 2015 09:00:07 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1381109 at http://www.wisebread.com 27 Things You Should Have in Your Utility Drawer http://www.wisebread.com/27-things-you-should-have-in-your-utility-drawer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/27-things-you-should-have-in-your-utility-drawer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/measuring_tape_000050146530.jpg" alt="Woman with measuring tape kept in utility drawer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know the kitchen drawer &mdash; the one with an interesting assortment of odds and ends? Well at some point, the &quot;utility drawer&quot; often turns into the &quot;junk drawer.&quot; And if yours is bordering on being more of a scrapbook, maybe this is the time to clean it out and stock it with some really practical items.</p> <p>The well-stocked drawer is going to contain some very tiny items, as well as some rather unwieldy ones, so start by investing in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002RL9CYK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002RL9CYK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=I3EON6AAYU72JPZR">divider trays</a>. Next, begin collecting tiny tins (think empty Altoids containers) for some of the smaller items below. If you own a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005TJMC0S/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B005TJMC0S&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4NN7YQK74AYL3G7D">label printer</a>, you can really make your drawer look spiffy &mdash; but masking tape and a marking pen will work, too. &quot;Found items&quot; like clean, empty tuna cans, old muffin tins, or even ice-cube trays are helpful for sorting the goods.</p> <p>Then it's time to stock up on the following.</p> <h2>1. Flashlight</h2> <p>Probably one of the most important items in your utility drawer, and it needn't be bulky. For Christmas, my husband just got me one of these powerful, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BA5BM8I/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00BA5BM8I&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=64AQH52KYQW4HR62">tiny LED flashlights</a>. It takes up very little room, but boy, does it throw a big light.</p> <h2>2. Batteries</h2> <p>I keep an assortment of all sizes in the drawer, since you never know what you'll need.</p> <h2>3. Barbeque Lighter</h2> <p>These <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000UONR4M/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000UONR4M&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YTLJ6GVOBLNKQ3AG">long lighters</a> aren't only for the barbeque. I use mine to light my gas stove, candles, or the outdoor fireplace. When the power goes out, this is one of the first things I grab.</p> <h2>4. Tape Measure</h2> <p>I like both the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004SILEXM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B004SILEXM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FEUV2C7LLP2CSQOL">retractable tape measures</a> and the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005KMMOK2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B005KMMOK2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=XRTJ5BQDLVO73YSR">flexible tape measures</a> that you use for sewing. I also have the freebie paper tape from Ikea, which is really handy.</p> <h2>5. Band-Aids</h2> <p>Keeping Band-Aids in the kitchen makes more sense than the bathroom, to me. There I'll be, slicing away, and oops! So having an assortment of Band-Aids right there in the utility drawer is pretty handy.</p> <h2>6. Safety Pins</h2> <p>Wardrobe malfunction right before work? Grab a safety pin. Buy a box of pins in assorted sizes.</p> <h2>7. Sewing Kit</h2> <p>Lose a button, or is a hem coming out? I love this <a href="http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/real-simple-sewing-kit/1017916297?mcid=PS_googlepla_nonbrand__&amp;adpos=1o3&amp;creative=39230263429&amp;device=c&amp;matchtype=&amp;network=g&amp;gclid=CjwKEAjw0LmoBRDHuo7UkaKXhn8SJADmDTG0XYJnNNX9v5cW5-Fl3evxasugzs8YsIVmTttkmaYl3BoCkvfw_wcB">zippered sewing kit</a> that keeps everything in one place.</p> <h2>8. Eyeglass Repair Kit</h2> <p>Do you, or does a family member, wear glasses? If so, this little <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000RB7B72/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000RB7B72&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YL2HEAKRYOHRVWM2">eyeglass repair kit</a> will be a lifesaver. We even bring our kit on vacations.</p> <h2>9. String or Twine</h2> <p>I like this food-safe <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000ST1EW6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000ST1EW6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ET4HFGYQUYGCVCQM">cooking twine</a>. Tie a plumb-bob to the string end and get a straight edge for hanging wallpaper. String is one of those things you don't know you need until you need it.</p> <h2>10. Mini-Hammer</h2> <p>I could not live without my mini-hammer. It cracks nuts, pounds tough meat, and hangs pictures. They are nice for little hands when kids want to &quot;help daddy,&quot; too.</p> <h2>11. Pliers</h2> <p>Ideally, your toolbox will contain a larger assortment, but a small pair of pliers are great to have in the drawer for emergencies.</p> <h2>12. Duct Tape</h2> <p>My favorite use is to get rid of pet hair, but here are 10 other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-ways-to-use-duct-tape">great uses for duct tape</a>.</p> <h2>13. Deck of Cards</h2> <p>I recently learned to play Texas Hold 'Em, which turned out to be a lot of fun and a great way to kill time. Of course, I had a deck of cards handy in that utility drawer. If the power goes out, light a votive candle and deal 'em, pardner.</p> <h2>14. Matches</h2> <p>I like to keep two types in the drawer: book matches and stick matches. If you live somewhere humid, the book matches can fail you. Store in a plastic bag.</p> <h2>15. Screwdriver</h2> <p>This is another &quot;must-have.&quot; I like this <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002I3TDP0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002I3TDP0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OF6O2VVEYQESS7EZ">ratcheting screwdriver</a> that has the multiple bits.</p> <h2>16. Utility Knife</h2> <p>Also known as an &quot;X-acto knife&quot; or a &quot;boxcutter,&quot; these are hugely practical. Keeping one in the utility drawer ensures I won't be tempted to use one of my good kitchen knives when a box is delivered.</p> <h2>17. Votive Candles</h2> <p>I'm not a big &quot;candles-as-atmosphere&quot; person, but when the power is out, votives are the greatest. Not only are they inexpensive, but you can also buy unscented ones. I also own some of the &quot;flameless&quot; candles, but they don't have a long life &mdash; so for disaster preparedness, I like real candles.</p> <h2>18. Take-Out Menus</h2> <p>Pizza, anyone? Chinese? Whatever your preference, if you keep your take-out menus in your utility drawer, you are ready to make a phone call. We keep ours in a manila folder so they stay tidy.</p> <h2>19. Tweezers</h2> <p>Sliver? Bones in fish? Thorn in the dog's paw? A pair of tweezers is a great addition to any utility drawer.</p> <h2>20. Nail File</h2> <p>The cheap emery boards will work, but a friend got me hooked on these <a href="http://www.sephora.com/crystal-nail-file-P310307">crystal nail files</a>, which perform so much better. They come in a case, which also makes them much easier to find.</p> <h2>22. Rubber Bands</h2> <p>Keeping rubber bands in your junk drawer makes good sense. How many times have I used only half a bag of frozen peas? Grab a rubber band out of the drawer, seal them up, and send them back into the freezer. Keep them in a Ziploc bag so that they stay tidy and out of the humidity, and they will last longer.</p> <h2>23. Pens and Pencils</h2> <p>Absolutely indispensable and inexpensive. You'll need both in the drawer.</p> <h2>24. Thumb Tacks</h2> <p>I am a big fan of bulletin boards, so naturally I keep thumb tacks around. I prefer push pins, which are easier to dig back out of the cork.</p> <h2>25. Tape</h2> <p>Let's face it &mdash; the drawer is not complete without tape. Stock up.</p> <h2>26. Chip Clips</h2> <p>Keep those chips, crackers, and bags of cereals crispy with clips. I really like binder clips the best, since they clamp more tightly than some of the &quot;clothespin&quot; types. They also take up less room.</p> <h2>27. Glue</h2> <p>I like two types in the drawer &mdash; Super Glue and Elmer's. Both get regular use.</p> <p>Still not inspired to whip that drawer into shape? Then take a fun look at people whose <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/theprotojournalist/2014/08/15/337759135/what-your-junk-drawer-reveals-about-you">utility drawers</a> well, failed. And then get to organizing!</p> <p><em>Is there anything I've forgotten? What's in your jun</em>&hellip;<em> err, </em><em>utility </em><em>drawer?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/27-things-you-should-have-in-your-utility-drawer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-denim-expert-reveals-why-you-only-need-3-pairs-of-jeans">A Denim Expert Reveals Why You Only Need 3 Pairs of Jeans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/an-organized-year-a-month-by-month-guide">An Organized Year: A Month-by-Month Guide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter">8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-the-sandcastle-20-great-ways-to-use-a-beach-bucket">Beyond the Sandcastle: 20 Great Ways to Use a Beach Bucket</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-speed-up-your-morning-routine-and-get-more-sleep">This Is How You Speed Up Your Morning Routine (and Get More Sleep)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Organization junk drawers repairs tools utility drawers Thu, 02 Apr 2015 13:00:10 +0000 Marla Walters 1361032 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Warranties That Aren't Worth It http://www.wisebread.com/4-warranties-that-arent-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-warranties-that-arent-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_000019329937.jpg" alt="Woman shopping and learning which warranties aren&#039;t worth it" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us believe that it's better to be safe than sorry.</p> <p>However, when it comes to buying warranties, you may be acting on emotion. It's time to step back and take a closer look at those extended warranties &mdash; your extra peace of mind may be coming with a hidden high cost. Here are four warranties that aren't worth it.</p> <h2>1. Warranties That Are Too Expensive</h2> <p>According to the Service Contract Industry Council, most <a href="http://www.bbb.org/phoenix/news-events/consumer-tips/2014/12/be-in-the-know-before-buying-extended-warranties/">extended warranty costs</a> are 10% to 20% of the sales price. Anything above that 20% benchmark may be too much, particularly for small ticket items. For example, a $20 extended warranty on a $55 panini press is a waste of money.</p> <p>On the other hand, buying a $150 warranty on a $2,000 computer is a more sensible purchase. Not only is that warranty just 7.5% of the total price, but it'd also cover the high cost of replacing parts.</p> <h2>2. Warranties Shorter Than Those From Your Credit Card</h2> <p>There is no need to pay twice for coverage that you may already have. As long as you complete the entire purchase on a single credit card, most major credit card companies will extend the original manufacturer's warranty up to one additional year.</p> <p>Review the fine print on your credit card's extended warranty for other applicable limits, such as the maximum purchase price and maximum dollar value of claims within the same year. As long as you're aware of applicable exclusions and requirements, having a credit card with an excellent extended warranty can be a lifesaver. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-free-extended-warranty-from-your-credit-card-issuer?ref=seealso">How to Take Advantage of the Free Extended Warranty From Your Credit Card Issuer</a>)</p> <h2>3. Warranties for Products With Low Repair Rates</h2> <p>Some people claim that things aren't built to last anymore. However, surveys from Consumer Reports seem to indicate that it may all just be in our heads. The <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/02/repair-or-replace/index.htm">repair rates</a> for several items are going down.</p> <ul> <li>Laptops had a repair rate of 36% in 2010, and 24% in 2013.</li> <li>LCD TVs had a repair rate of 15% in 2010, and 7% in 2013.</li> <li>Dishwashers already had a <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/warranties.asp">low repair rate</a> of 13% back in 2004.</li> </ul> <p>Consumer Reports found that appliances usually don't break during the extended warranty period. Even when breakdowns occur, the median cost of a repair ($152) isn't that much more than the median price of a warranty ($136).</p> <p>A great alternative to extended warranties for products with low repair rates is to put the money you would have spent on the warranty in a savings account, instead. By &quot;self-insuring,&quot; you're keeping the money and gaining interest on your rainy day fund.</p> <h2>4. Unsolicited Car Warranties</h2> <p>There are warranties that aren't worth the money, and then there are warranty scams.</p> <p>For several decades, the FCC has been warning consumers about <a href="http://www.fcc.gov/guides/auto-warranty-scams">auto warranty scams</a>. Malicious companies prey on consumers whose auto warranties are about to expire &mdash; or in some cases, they may not even be close to expiration. Back in 2008, the Better Business Bureau received more than <a href="http://www.bbb.org/central-illinois/migration/other-news/2009/02/bbb-warns-deceptive-auto-warranty-solicitations-plague-consumers-nationwide/">140,000 consumer calls</a> to confirm the legitimacy of companies claiming to sell auto warranties.</p> <p>For example, in the year that the basic warranty of my 2012 Volkswagen Passat was set to expire, I started receiving unsolicited mail with warnings in big, bold letters; &quot;Final Notice: Expiring Auto Warranty.&quot; After ignoring a couple of these mailers, additional ones started pouring in with labels such as &quot;<a href="http://www.ncdoj.gov/getdoc/28440855-e863-431f-9e60-c46e13226298/Warranty-mailer.aspx">2nd Attempt</a>,&quot; &quot;Time Sensitive,&quot; or &quot;<a href="http://www.ncdoj.gov/getdoc/9c4deb4f-8f10-4206-bd5b-2ab75bf70bcc/Warranty-Mailer-2.aspx">Vehicle Alert Notice</a>.&quot; Then, the calls started coming in every single week. It was all from unscrupulous car warranty salespeople.</p> <p>Don't cave in to the pressure and protect yourself against potential car warranty fraud:</p> <ul> <li>Don't provide any personal or financial information over the phone to unsolicited telemarketers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Resist high-pressure pitches from salespeople or mailers that urge you to act now. Those &quot;final deadlines&quot; extend for several months over and over.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>These car warranties rarely pay claims. The BBB reports that <a href="http://stlouis.bbb.org/storage/142/documents/vehicleservicecontractstudy2011.pdf">93% of vehicle service claims</a> are denied under these warranties.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Never agree to any contract without having a physical copy of the contract and an appropriate timeframe to review the fine print.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A major red flag is the requirement of a down payment to view a contract. Don't agree to pay over the phone.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Search online for the name of the company offering the auto warranty (such as <a href="http://www.ncdoj.com/getdoc/221259f6-b0a2-40aa-801c-f76835f31be2/AG-Cooper-gives-auto-warranty-sellers-the-boot.aspx">U.S. Fidelis</a>), since some of those companies are often in trouble with the law. Or, check the company with your <a href="http://www.usa.gov/directory/stateconsumer/">state and local consumer agencies</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>File a complaint with the FCC by visiting <a href="http://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov">consumercomplaints.fcc.gov</a>, calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322), or writing to Federal Communications Commission, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Place your phone number on the <a href="http://www.donotcall.gov">National Do Not Call Registry</a>.</li> </ul> <p><em>What are some warranties that you wished you never paid for?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-warranties-that-arent-worth-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-used-car-salesman-reveals-dirty-tricks-and-how-to-beat-them">A Used Car Salesman Reveals Dirty Tricks (and How to Beat Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-something-breaks-should-you-repair-or-replace">When Something Breaks, Should You Repair or Replace?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-home-buys-you-should-never-skimp-on">8 Home Buys You Should Never Skimp On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-gift-card-scam-of-2011-don-t-be-a-victim">The Gift Card Scam of 2011: Don’t Be a Victim</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">8 Vile Craigslist Scams to Watch Out For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping appliances Cars electronics repairs scams warranties Wed, 01 Apr 2015 15:00:11 +0000 Damian Davila 1360904 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Angie’s List Saves You Money http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-angie-s-list-saves-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-angie-s-list-saves-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6 Ways Angie's List Saves Money.png" alt="angie&#039;s list" title="angie&#039;s list" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="129" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you've got a big home improvement project planned or you're just looking to get your A/C unit repaired, you'll need to know how and where to find a service provider that fits the bill and is worth the price.</p> <p>But how do you <em>know</em> that a deal really is a good deal? And how can you be <em>sure</em> that the repairman you're letting in to your house is legit? Enter <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-11800498?sid=bdt">Angie's List</a>.</p> <h3>What Is Angie's List?</h3> <p>Angie's List is a resource that compiles business information from services ranging from house cleaning to HVAC installation and everything in between. Angie's List users submit reviews and ratings to help each other out, plus the reviews and ratings are checked before going up to ensure they're legit. But it you probably want to know if it's worth the cost. Here are six ways Angie's List saves you money.</p> <h2>1. Angie's List Saves You Time</h2> <p>Time is money, people. Sure, if you want to find someone to fix your blinds, you could perform an Internet search for &quot;blind repair [your city]&quot; but then you'll need to do additional research &mdash; is this company legit? What kind of reviews are they getting? Are the <em>reviews</em> legit? What's their pricing? Do they have any coupons or deals?</p> <p>Angie's List compiles all of a company's information on one page, including contact information, trade license information, whether or not a company is bonded and/or insured, any current deals the company is offering, and lots more. Perform a search, check the ratings, pick a provider &mdash; done.</p> <h2>2. Angie's List Offers Daily Deals</h2> <p>For bargain-hunters like me, you'll be pleased to find that Angie's List has a Deals section in which select providers in your area offer packages available to purchase for a limited time. Angie's List reviews and ratings are included within the deal so you can see at a glance what others have said about the company.</p> <p>Here's an example: right now, I can spend $99 for a complete air duct system cleaning with unlimited vents (a $299 value). This is similar to a deal I might find on Groupon, but what makes me use Angie's List vs. Groupon is that I <em>know</em> this company will do a good job &mdash; they have an A rating from over 300 reviews.</p> <h2>3. Angie's List Makes Sure It's Done Right the First Time</h2> <p>Using a highly-rated provider helps ensure that a service will be performed properly the first time.</p> <p>From my own experience: I recently bought a chimney cleaning voucher for $79 from a daily deal website. After the man completed the job, my husband commented that our ShopVac probably could have done the same thing. Now we have to have it redone properly.</p> <h2>4. Angie's List Gives You Confidence</h2> <p>If you <em>know</em> that a company is licensed, insured and bonded, then you <em>know</em> that you (and your insurance company) won't be on the hook for a poor job that they do.</p> <p>There's a License Check tool on Angie's List that makes it easy for you to know who to call or where to search to verify information that a provider has given you. Since licensing procedures and qualifications vary widely by state and profession, it's important to do your due diligence to ensure that a company is legit.</p> <h2>5. Angie's List Rewards You</h2> <p>Since signing up, I've received several emails from Angie's List prompting to send me rewards &mdash; just two days ago I was sent a $20 Starbucks eGift for sharing my thoughts about two service providers of my choosing (easy!).</p> <p>They also have an AngieCash referral program in which you can earn $25 AngieCash for friends that you refer, and your friend will get $15 in AngieCash upon signing up (this may just be for a limited time). AngieCash can be redeemed in the AngieCash store for things like magazine subscriptions, e-gift cards, Vera Bradley totes, and more.</p> <h2>6. Angie's List Sends You Money-Saving Tips</h2> <p>In addition to ratings across all categories, you'll get monthly magazines sent to your home with helpful home saving tips. I thumbed through the magazine I received yesterday and found several useful home maintenance articles and tips to keep things running smoothly.</p> <p>If I've convinced you that yes, Angie's List will really save you money, <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-11800498?sid=bdt">sign up today</a>! </p> <p><em>Have you used Angie's List? I'd love to hear what your experience was like!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-rocha">Carrie Rocha</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-angie-s-list-saves-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring">8 Easy Home Maintenance To-Dos for Spring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new">18 Ways to Make Old Things Seem New</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-something-breaks-should-you-repair-or-replace">When Something Breaks, Should You Repair or Replace?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Angie's List repairs Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:04:18 +0000 Carrie Rocha 1142399 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Ways to Make Old Things Seem New http://www.wisebread.com/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3841316451_4f7780e92c_z.jpg" alt="woman on vintage sofa" title="woman on vintage sofa" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're pretty accustomed to an economy that encourages us to buy, use, and dispose of things. Furniture, clothing, electronics &mdash; nothing really seems to LAST anymore, does it?</p> <p>Well, let's say that you have something you really like &mdash; maybe an heirloom armoire or a pair of shoes or an old Datsun, and you WANT that thing to last. There's nothing wrong with that. You just need to be schooled in the art of repair. Here are 18 ways to make old stuff feel like new. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">21 Disposable Products You&nbsp;Can Reuse</a>)</p> <h2>1. Clean It</h2> <p>Well, this one seems perfectly obvious, doesn't it? From patios to cars to clothing, a good deep cleaning can make almost any old thing seem new again. Have you ever power-washed a driveway? There is nothing more Zen that that. Oh, sure, it's kind of a waste of water, but seeing that perfectly new, shiny concrete staring back at you? Bliss.</p> <p>I recently dropped my wedding ring into a little jar of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Connoisseurs-Jewelry-Cleaner-Revitalizing-oz/dp/B000QA2IHC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1333047527&amp;sr=8-2">jewelry cleaner</a>, waited the required 30 seconds, then cleaned it with a little brush and let it dry. I was absolutely amazed at how beautiful it looked. Before the cleaning, my ring was looking dull, and I was even struggling to remember why I wanted it in the first place. Now, it's brilliantly shiny and looks as good as new.</p> <p>A good deep-cleaning of your car can probably make it feel less junky, too &mdash; if you need the carpets cleaned, you can outsource that, but do the other detailing yourself. It's not hard to get those vents clean with some Q-Tips and a little Windex.</p> <h2>2. Polish It</h2> <p>Polishing is such a great way to make old things look new &mdash; probably the easiest, actually. Some Murphy's oil soap will make an old oak table gleam like new. Have a pair of lace-up Oxfords that have seen better days? Learn <a href="http://artofmanliness.com/2008/07/29/how-to-get-the-best-shoe-shine/">how to polish your shoes</a>, a long-lost art that even my dad finally stopped doing sometime in 2002.</p> <p>Waxing and polishing a car, even one whose paint job has seen better days, can make you feel better about driving that old Mazda to work every day. My mom seems to enjoy <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/dusting-polishing/polish-silver-00000000002298/index.html">polishing silver</a>, which I guess can be a form of meditation.</p> <p>Not everything that acquires a patina of age has to be polished &mdash; maybe you LIKE your silver to look tarnished, and that's perfectly fine.</p> <h2>3. Paint It</h2> <p>A fresh coat of paint can make almost anything seem new and exciting. Whether you're <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2012/03/before-after-refinished-dresser-card-catalog.html">sprucing up old furniture</a>, <a href="http://theinspiredroom.net/2012/01/05/painting-stripes/">redecorating a room</a>, trying to <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_12030235_decorate-colors-brighten-hallway.html">brighten a hallway</a>, or improving the appearance of a <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-paint-a-concrete-floor/index.html">stained concrete floor</a>, paint is your friend. Although this isn't something I would recommend as a DIY, sometimes paying to have your car repainted can make an old clunker feel like something a bit more special.</p> <h2>4. Oil It</h2> <p>You know how the little annoyances in life can really add up and <a href="http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/05/sneaky-hate-spiral.html">make you hate stuff?</a> One of the things that drives me bonkers is a squeaky door. It's nothing a little WD-40 can't handle, but since everyone keeps their WD-40 in the garage, how often do we get around to oiling squeaky hinges, cleaning garden tools and bicycle parts, or removing rust from metal stuff like cars and gates? I've started keeping a can of WD-40 on every floor of my house (there are three stupid floors in my townhouse), so I never have an excuse not to oil things that need it.</p> <h2>5. Re-cover It</h2> <p>Sometimes you don't really need a new couch, you just need a new cover for the couch. While removable covers are easy to wash, they don't always fit well and tend to wrinkle. Maybe you have a love seat that you adore, but it's old and faded. If the bones are still good, why not just give it a facelift with some new fabric?</p> <p>Reupholstering performed by a professional isn't cheap, but if you have a piece of heirloom furniture that you don't want to part with, it's an excellent option. Or maybe you found some antique stools on Craigslist that have seen better days &mdash; you can probably do a little <a href="http://myeverydayexceptional.blogspot.com/2011/11/diy-recovering-stool.html">DIY reupholstering</a> and not only save money, but have also gain bragging rights.</p> <h2>6. Sand It</h2> <p>Sometimes, before you even get to the painting or the re-staining, old wooden stuff just needs a good sanding. Whether it's a door that you're turning into a table, or a wooden deck that puts splinters into bare feet, or an <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk3jNLW6LCc">original wood floor</a> that you found under all your old carpets, a good power sander can take old wood from craggy to perfect.</p> <p>If you've never sanded anything before (and don't have a sander), you can rent all the tools that you will need from your local hardware store. Be sure to ask for lots of advice and be very specific about your project. Sanding is somewhere between art and science, but if you have the patience for it, it will make every wood-based project work out better in the end.</p> <h2>7. Mend It</h2> <p>How many of you even know how to sew a basting stitch? Raise your hand if you do. I don't. Well, OK, I have a general idea, because I used to know <a href="http://diyfashion.about.com/od/mendingandalterations/tp/Repair_and_Mend_Clothing.htm">how to sew</a>, but my technique has faltered over the years, and now I'm lucky if I don't end up stabbing myself in the cheek with a needle whenever I break out the ol' sewing kit. But mending small tears in fabric can keep your favorite t-shirt from hitting the rag pile. The sooner you attend to rips and snags, the better your chance of keeping a garment in wearable condition.</p> <h2>8. Repair It</h2> <p>When your favorite watch stops working, do you throw it away? Of course not. You change the battery and/or get it fixed. Most people aren't schooled in the art of watch repair, but there are other less-technical fixes that you can perform yourself. Whether you are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">repairing household items</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-car-maintenance-with-these-5-diy-tips">working on your car</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fix-a-bike-flat">your bike</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-reasons-a-website-can-suck-and-how-to-fix-it">redesigning your website</a>, there are a plethora of ways to keep old stuff functioning.</p> <h2>9. Patch It</h2> <p>Sometimes it can be nearly impossible to part with a beloved item of clothing. &quot;But I've had this since college!&quot; you howl to your wife as she attempts to throw away your acid-washed, high-waisted, pleated, tapered jeans that don't fit you anymore anyway. &quot;There's a hole in the butt!&quot; counters your wife, who is a reasonable woman with good taste in clothes and just wants you to look like you didn't step out of a John Hughes film. &quot;I can patch that!&quot; you counter, delighted with your ability to <a href="http://www.ironpatches.co/">apply a stick-on denim patch</a>.</p> <h2>10. Hem It</h2> <p>Hemlines seem to go up and down at random, and while I would never advocate blindly following trends, hemming a pair of pants can be a good way to get more mileage out of clothing that might have seen better days. A few years ago, really long hems were in style, so that women walked around with no visible feet. After a while, such pants lose their bloom, because the long length means that the pant legs become scuffed and dirty from brushing against the ground so often. Such a pair of pants would benefit from a professional or <a href="http://diyfashion.about.com/od/diyfashion101/ss/HemPants.htm">DIY hemming</a> &mdash; have them taken up to a couple of inches above the ankle. It's a good summery look that will be fashionable for at least a few more years to come.</p> <h2>11. Bleach It/Dye It</h2> <p>Have a white shirt that really flatters your waist but is hopelessly marred by a tomato stain? If <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_2305232_bleach-clothes-white.html">bleaching a stained shirt</a> doesn't do the trick, <a href="http://shirt.woot.com/blog/viewentry.aspx?id=4944">try dying your shirt</a> the color of the stain. Tie-dying is a fun way to update old t-shirts, if you enjoy looking like a Grateful Dead fan (or ARE a Grateful Dead fan). You can also use <a href="http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Ombre-Dip-Dye-116422238">dip-dye methods</a> if you like today's ombre styles.</p> <h2>12. Embellish It</h2> <p>You can turn an old headband into a <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/90871710/great-gatsby-goes-green-feather-sequin?ref=sr_gallery_6&amp;ga_search_query=sequin+fascinator&amp;ga_view_type=gallery&amp;ga_ship_to=US&amp;ga_search_type=handmade">fancy-schmancy fascinator</a> using a sequin applique and some hot glue. And bedazzling isn't just for your ladybits anymore &mdash; you can create <a href="http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-miu-miu-jeweled-heels/">snazzy-looking heels</a> or <a href="http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-miu-miu-sneakers-vans-giveaway/">dazzling sneakers</a> with some powerful epoxy and fake jewels. If you have a pair of jeans that you want to take from dull to punk, let me introduce you to studs.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/iAP2LSEdQRY" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="http://youtu.be/iAP2LSEdQRY">Watch video</a></p> <h2>13. Repurpose/Upcycle It</h2> <p>&quot;Upcycling&quot; is a term that gets a fair amount of mockery these days &mdash; it basically involves taking something old, like a sweater, and creating something new out of it, like a teddy bear or a pair of leg warmers. If you spend time on <a href="http://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?search_submit=&amp;q=upcycled&amp;order=most_relevant&amp;ship_to=US&amp;view_type=gallery">Etsy </a>(or <a href="http://www.regretsy.com/?s=upcycled">Regretsy</a>), you'll know that there is almost no stopping the &quot;upcyling&quot; trend, sometimes for the worse. However, <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/274800/repurposed-furniture-and-decor/@center/277003/home-smarts">repurposing old goods</a> can result in some stunning (and useful!) projects. Take this <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/storyteller-by-isabel-quiroga-93022">workspace created from old coffee tables</a>. If you do have a knack for sewing, then you might find your calling in <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/style/seven-smooches-repurposed-clothing-for-kids.html">repurposed kids' clothing</a> or <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/from-the-closet-to-the-couch-w-98922">accessories for the home</a>.</p> <p>The original repurposed project, the <a href="http://www.tshirtquilts.com/">homemade t-shirt quilt</a>, can be outsourced now, so even if you can't sew worth a darn (heh), you can still find a comfy use for your old alma mater sweatshirts.</p> <h2>14. Stain It</h2> <p>My dad is a bit obsessive when it comes to decks. He always builds them himself, and keeps them swept, washed, and perfectly stained. It's an annual event at our household &mdash; the 24 hours or so when we all have to use the front door instead of the back. I'll say this, though &mdash; our deck is well over 25 years old, but still looks great.</p> <p>In a similar spirit, my mom seems to have a gift for renewing old furniture. First, she strips the old varnish off using Jasco or something equally toxic. Next, she fixes any dings or dents with filler. Lastly, she carefully applies one to three new coats of stain, and then a final coat of varnish. <a href="http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/how-to-refinish-furniture.htm">Refinishing old furniture</a> is quite a bit of work, and you need a good, well-ventilated space to do it in, but it can really improve the overall look of your vintage pieces.</p> <h2>15. Accept It</h2> <p>Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? Sometimes, it's easier to accept that you don't have the skills or the time to actually return your stuff to a minty-new condition, so you either accept that it's old, or you....</p> <h2>16. Sell It/Donate It</h2> <p>After all, someone, somewhere, will have the time and the energy to turn your old apple crates into an <a href="http://www.recyclart.org/2009/03/apple-crates-shelves/">awesome set of media shelves</a>. There's not always virtue in holding on to stuff you don't need or aren't using or are simply tired of. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jettison-the-junk-why-clutter-clouds-your-mind-and-saps-your-energy">Get rid of your junk</a>, and keep the things that really matter.</p> <h2>17. Put a Bird On It</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/0XM3vWJmpfo" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="http://youtu.be/0XM3vWJmpfo">Watch video</a></p> <h2>18. Stick a Plant In It</h2> <p>There are very few objects that you CAN'T use as a <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/15-repurposed-planters-just-ad-142393">planter</a>, it turns out. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/46959088@N03/4776576877/">Old tea kettle</a>? <a href="http://greenscrafts.blogspot.com/2009/05/ah-that-tin.html">Old tin</a>? <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf34031043.tip.html">Pink toilet</a>? <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_10075912_wooden-homemade-cowboy-boot-flower-planter.html">Cowboy boots</a>? <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5888327/repurpose-a-wooden-wine-crate-into-a-planter">Wine crate</a>? You can plant anything in these and get away with it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-ways-to-make-old-things-seem-new">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-uses-for-old-ties">10 Great Uses for Old Ties</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-rekindling-the-art-of-reusing-your-stuff">Save Money by Rekindling the Art of Reusing your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-unique-ways-to-use-school-supplies">12 Unique Ways to Use School Supplies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home Style buying used recycle repairs reuse Tue, 10 Apr 2012 10:24:07 +0000 Andrea Karim 876943 at http://www.wisebread.com When Something Breaks, Should You Repair or Replace? http://www.wisebread.com/when-something-breaks-should-you-repair-or-replace <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-something-breaks-should-you-repair-or-replace" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/roof_repair.jpg" alt="Man repairing roof" title="Man repairing roof" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="138" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My Grandpa Clyde was one of the great handymen of all time. He could repair just about anything.</p> <p>Before Clyde bought something, the first thing he'd ask was whether he could get parts and supplies to repair it himself when it broke. If the answer was &quot;no,&quot; he wouldn't buy it. If the answer was &quot;You don't need to worry about it, Mr. Yeager. This will never break,&quot; Gramps would thank the salesman politely and walk away, rather than accuse him of being a bald-faced liar. As Grandpa Clyde was fond of saying, &quot;Automatic means you can't fix it yourself,&quot; and he wanted nothing to do with it.</p> <p>Unfortunately, times have changed since Clyde's day. We now live in a world of <a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/planned-obsolescence-460210">planned obsolescence</a> and one in which it costs more to repair most items &mdash; if they can be repaired at all &mdash; than to replace them. That's not only costing us more, but it's a massive waste of the earth's resources. America's nearly 2,000 landfills stand as sad monuments to our throw-away culture.</p> <p>But sometimes it still pays &mdash; financially, and of course environmentally &mdash; to <a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/repair-things-461109">repair rather than replace</a>, even if you're not as handy as Clyde and have to pay someone else to repair it for you. Here are some rules of thumb about whether to repair or replace. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-repair-a-dripping-faucet">Should You Repair a Dripping Faucet?</a>)</p> <h3>The 50% Rule</h3> <p>Financial pundits often talk about the &quot;50% rule&quot; when deciding whether or not it's more cost effective to repair an item rather than replace it. The conventional wisdom was that if a repair was estimated to cost 50% or less than the amount you paid for an item, it was usually better to have it repaired. This is still a good guide to keep in mind, although many consumer products (e.g. electronics, furniture, appliances, even clothing) have continually dropped in price (in inflation adjusted dollars) in recent generations. So now, to be more accurate, the 50% rule should be based on replacement value, not original purchase price, or even on the estimated current market value or resale value of major items like automobiles. Regardless, it's simply one rule of thumb among many other considerations.</p> <h3>Appreciating Appreciation</h3> <p>Before you decide to replace something instead of have it repaired, carefully consider whether the item you're thinking about trashing might appreciate in value over time. In the case of a well-made piece of furniture that is likely to become an antique, the choice to repair it is probably obvious. But it may not always be so apparent &mdash; when they needed repair, I wanted so badly to pitch those clunky old stereo speakers my dad passed along to me when I was a teen and buy some trendy new (cheap) ones at Kmart. But Dad wouldn't let me; now those JBL speakers are classics and worth nearly as much as my 401(k) (sadly, in that sense).</p> <h3>Around the House</h3> <p>Well-made, older <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-big-on-appliances">appliances</a> may be worth the cost of repair (if you can still find parts and someone to do the work), but you need to factor in that most older appliances use considerably more energy than newer models (see <a target="_blank" href="http://www.energystar.gov/">energystar.gov</a>), so in the end it's often more cost effective to replace them when they need repair. On the other hand, replacing older windows in your home (if they're still in serviceable condition) with more energy efficient ones may not be a smart investment, taking a good many years in most instances to recoup the significant upfront investment. What about the roof over your head? Investing in maintenance and even fairly major roof repairs to prolong the life of a roof &mdash; provided that it's in generally sound condition &mdash; is often more cost effective, particularly for larger roof surfaces.</p> <h3>Rags or Riches</h3> <p>When it comes to clothing, the priority should be on taking proper care of it (<a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/save-money/drying-clothes-clothesline-lint-460209">don't use the clothes dryer</a>!) to make it last rather than investing in repairing it. Because most non-designer clothing is relatively inexpensive, it's usually cheaper to buy something new once <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-clothes-last-longer-without-spending-big">garments become threadbare</a>. Even if you put on a few pounds, tailoring garments usually only makes financial sense with higher-end apparel items, unless you're a seamstress yourself.</p> <h3>Is It Plugged In?</h3> <p>A friend of mine who owns an electronics repair business once told me that nearly half of all the items people bring into his shop are simply suffering from a faulty electrical cord, plug, or other connection problem, or something else with a simple fix like cleaning out an air filter or replacing a worn-out belt. If that's the case, then repairing it will save you major currency (get it?). But, if it's something more major and requires special parts, even my friend admits that most new electronics are so inexpensive that it's probably not worth the fix.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The common line is that it&#039;s better to repair than replace, but that&#039;s not always true. Here&#039;s how to figure out what you should do when something breaks. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align: left; "><em>This post from the&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/save-money/"><em>Green Cheapskate</em></a><em>&nbsp;by Jeff Yeager is republished with the permission of&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/"><em>The Daily Green</em></a><em>. Check out more great content from&nbsp;The Daily Green:</em></p> <div> <div> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/save-money-megaflip"><em>30+ Ways to Save Money By Going Green</em></a></li> <li><a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/save-gas-47031702"><em>10 Ways to Save Money On Gas Without Replacing Your Car</em></a></li> <li><a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/vodka-uses-460424"><em>Top 10 Weird Uses of Vodka</em></a></li> <li><a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/safe-green-investments-47091801"><em>6 Safe Green Investments</em></a></li> <li><a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/save-money-gas-47050902"><em>How to Pay 50 Cents (or Less) for a Gallon of Gas</em></a></li> </ul> </div> </div> <div>&nbsp;</div> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jeff-yeager">Jeff Yeager</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-something-breaks-should-you-repair-or-replace">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-appliances-at-any-time-of-year">Save Money on Appliances at any Time of Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-warranties-that-arent-worth-it">4 Warranties That Aren&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-home-buys-you-should-never-skimp-on">8 Home Buys You Should Never Skimp On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-laundry-detergents">The 5 Best Laundry Detergents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-trash-bags">The 5 Best Trash Bags</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Shopping appliances appreciation repairs replacing stuff Mon, 21 Nov 2011 11:36:18 +0000 Jeff Yeager 792183 at http://www.wisebread.com To change the bulb, just remove the bumper. Wait, what? - UPDATED. http://www.wisebread.com/to-change-the-bulb-just-remove-the-bumper-wait-what <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/to-change-the-bulb-just-remove-the-bumper-wait-what" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/418916937_2a33f453a1.jpg" alt="VW headlight out" title="VW headlight out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I was warned. I had been a loyal Honda owner for my entire driving life. But, after realizing that my Honda Civic Coupe was just too awkward for my growing family, I started looking around. I saw the VW Passat, I loved it; but a friend told me “hey, just so you know, she’s nice but she’s ‘high maintenance.’&quot; Boy, was he right.</p> <p>The ’06 Passat I purchased was low mileage and well taken care of. Black, pristine, a work of art from German engineers. Aside from a few small problems that were fixed within weeks of purchasing it, everything was going great. Then the passenger-side headlight went out (prompting a handy warning light on the dash to start annoying me). <em>(For an update on the Daytime Running Light issue, scroll down.)</em></p> <p>I popped over to Checkers and asked the helpful man behind the counter to look up what type of bulb the Passat takes. He pointed me in the right direction, I got to the checkout and then the guy asked me why I was buying it. Strange question, right?</p> <p>“My headlight’s gone, passenger side, so I’m swapping it out,” I said with a smile.</p> <p>The guy looked at me quizzically; I must have just oozed naivety from every pore.</p> <p>“You know these things are really tricky right, and you’ll need a special tool to get it done.”</p> <p>This was all news to me. When the headlight bulbs went on my old Honda Accord, I swapped them out in five minutes. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.</p> <p>So, I didn’t buy the bulb, I called my VW dealership. As it turns out, bulbs are covered under the warranty so I just sat around for an hour (yes, an hour) while they swapped the bulb out. Fast-forward one month and the driver’s side bulb decided to go out on me. I guess these VW bulbs only last a couple of years. That would have been good to know. Anyway, I made an appointment and this morning, I dropped it off. That’s when the service manager asked me a strange question (these strange questions keep popping up with this vehicle). </p> <p>“What time will you be picking the car up?” he said.</p> <p>&quot;Oh, I’ll just wait” I replied, and went to sit down at the customer service lounge. <br />That’s when the service manager dropped the bombshell. </p> <p>“You’re going to wait 2-3 hours?” he said, shocked.</p> <p>As it turns out, the driver’s side headlight in the VW Passat is nowhere near as easy to get to as the passenger-side bulb. No, this one requires them to remove the front bumper and a few other parts to get to it. Seriously. So, I took the complimentary shuttle service to work and decided to write this post, as a warning.</p> <p>Do your homework. It’s not just about comparing cars, and up-front prices. Check out the Cost To Own, which can add thousands to the cost of the car. Edmunds.com has a <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/apps/cto/CTOintroController">very handy calculator</a> that you can use that helps establish the True Cost To Own, or TCO. </p> <p>Also, if you know someone with the make and model of the car you’re thinking of buying, ask about maintenance, parts that fail and general ownership experience. I had failed to do this thoroughly on the VW Passat (brushing off that brief warning from my friend and thinking no more about it); if I&#39;d looked into it more carefully, it may well have changed my purchasing decision. When my car is out of warranty, a new bulb is going to cost $55 (or more for the newer, brighter bulbs) plus labor (2-3 hours for the driver’s side, with labor typically being $70/hour). That’s over $200 for something that would have cost just $15 on my old Honda.</p> <p>If you’re skilled enough to do that kind of job yourself, then maybe this doesn’t apply to you. But for the rest of us, it’s a kick in the wallet. And it all leaves me pondering some simple questions – “Why did the VW engineers make the bulbs so inaccessible? Could it be anything to do with giving more work to the service centers? Or is this just what to expect from German engineering?” All questions I may never know the answers to.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE: The Daytime Running Light (DRL) issue. </strong></p> <p>So, as I have mentioned in the comments box, I am no fan of DRL. In fact, there&#39;s even an organization out there against it, <a href="http://www.lightsout.org/">here</a> . They were introduced for satey reasons but to be honest, the closer you get to the equator, the less likely you are to need them. If you&#39;re in Alaska, they may be a good idea. Here in Colorado, I have no need for them most of the time. </p> <p>I did a little digging around after my VW dealer told me they could be disabled, but they wouldn&#39;t do it. Well, this being the information age, I went to the web and found the following <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4VX1HeC-JU">video</a> . Please note, <strong>you do this at your own risk.</strong> I&#39;m sure VW frowns on this and it may invalidate the warranty. If you want to try it, it may be better to wrap the pin in electrical tape rather than bending it. That seems like a more reversible method.</p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/o4VX1HeC-JU&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/o4VX1HeC-JU&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="344"></embed></object></p> <p>If it works, you&#39;re looking at extending the life of your bulbs considerably. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-change-the-bulb-just-remove-the-bumper-wait-what">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-used-car-salesman-reveals-dirty-tricks-and-how-to-beat-them">A Used Car Salesman Reveals Dirty Tricks (and How to Beat Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-new-tires-really-6-year-old-ticking-time-bombs">Are your new tires really 6-year old ticking time-bombs?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-spend-on-a-new-car">How Much Should You Spend on a New Car?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-5-car-maintenance-tasks-and-keep-your-car-on-the-road-forever">Do These 5 Car Maintenance Tasks and Keep Your Car on the Road Forever</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Cars and Transportation bulb Cars headlight Honda maintenance repairs service VW Mon, 08 Sep 2008 16:50:41 +0000 Paul Michael 2408 at http://www.wisebread.com Home Details I Overlooked the First Time http://www.wisebread.com/home-details-i-overlooked-the-first-time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-details-i-overlooked-the-first-time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home_improvement_disaster.jpg" alt="home improvement disaster" title="home improvement disaster" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you&#39;re in the market for a new home (new to you or new period), make sure you aren&#39;t paying premium prices for so-so materials, and don&#39;t underestimate the expenses and headaches associated with making what seem to be minor improvements.</p> <p>I&#39;ve been visiting new homes in my area, just checking out what&#39;s available. The high-end homes feature high-end materials with accompanying price tags and, it seems, the moderate homes feature moderate materials also with high price tags. Just because a home is new and everything looks good now, most materials will not last or look good forever, especially the cheaper ones. Though there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying a house with less-than-luxury materials or less-than-perfect design, you can still do some homework to make sure you are paying a fair price. </p> <p>First, how do you learn about materials? </p> <ul> <li>Visit your favorite home-improvement center and/or specialty store. See and feel countertops (such as granite, solid surface, ceramic tile), kitchen cabinets (oak, cherry, maple, hickory woods and wood veneers in a variety of finishes as well as thermofoil), flooring (ceramic tile, carpeting, engineered wood, solid wood, bamboo, linoleum), and more.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Mix in some Internet research; you can start with <a href="http://www.hometips.com/index.html" target="_blank" title="http://www.hometips.com/index.html">Home Tips</a> and vendor websites, then move on to home-improvement forums if you have an interest in learning about project experiences.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Take a Parade of Homes&#39; tour. </li> </ul> <ul> <li>Ask home-improvement pros a few questions about the best materials and though you won&#39;t get a straight answer, you will most likely get insight into appropriate applications. (That is, if you have young children, get really strong or inexpensive, easily replaceable flooring. And you may discover a ceramic tile that can withstand the pressure of an automobile, explaining the price differential between two tiles I was considering for a kitchen backsplash). </li> </ul> <p>I wished I had paid more attention to materials when my husband and I selected our current home. It was in a neighborhood we liked, had plenty of indoor and outdoor space, and was very affordable. The mortgage payments have been easily made, which is good since we needed money to make functional repairs and fashion improvements. </p> <p>As far as major projects, I learn best from experience so I&#39;ll tell you about some of my adventures. You should know that I am not (typically) a DIYer but have located, hired, and worked with contractors, getting their advice and trying to make sure they did what they were supposed to do. In many cases, there were some underlying problems (either in the original construction or some that arose due to repair needs and/or aging materials) that I could not have diagnosed or fixed myself easily or quickly. </p> <p>Here&#39;s a rundown on the scope and cost of our home-improvement projects: </p> <p><strong>HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning)</strong></p> <p>Our house had ceiling heat, which, for a time, was promoted as an energy-efficient method of heating, defying basic principles that heat rises and therefore doesn&#39;t warm the people who are paying the electricity bill. (Now you see why I held <a href="/slow-drip-into-investing" target="_blank" title="http://www.wisebread.com/slow-drip-into-investing">Duke Power in my portfolio</a>). On the upside, during the short time that we tolerated the ceiling heat (before our first child was born), the dough that I brought home from my bread-baking class at the community college always rose and the bread baked perfectly. </p> <p>When natural gas became available in our neighborhood, we had a gas heating system installed and expanded the HVAC capabilities to include the master bathroom and sunroom addition. </p> <p>Approximate cost of $6,000 in 1994 dollars.</p> <p><strong>Kitchen</strong></p> <p>Cheap everything was the hallmark of the kitchen: oak-like paperboard for the cabinets, flourescent lighting, laminate countertops, and linoleum flooring that dented every time anyone in the house dropped something (at least a couple times a week). </p> <p>We&#39;ve replaced everything with ceramic tile flooring, maple cabinetry, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances. I had a huge debate with myself about adding ceramic tile flooring but opted for it because 1) it doesn&#39;t show dirt easily (at least the color I selected doesn&#39;t); 2) it doesn&#39;t dent (though I have to be careful about dropping anything on it, easier now that my kids are older and I have slightly fewer distractions) and 3) I overheard two ladies at the gym discuss how putting tile in their kitchens was one of the best home-improvement decisions they&#39;ve ever made. My biggest regret/didn&#39;t-know item is that magnets do not stick to stainless steel so I had to get a bulletin board to place important notices. </p> <p>Cost of slightly less than $29,000 including ceramic tile in the sunroom attached to the kitchen. </p> <p><strong>Bathrooms</strong></p> <p>I&#39;ll hit the highlights (or rather low points) of my master and guest bathrooms, previously decorated with the least expensive products available on the market right down to wooden towel rods. </p> <p>The tub in the master bathroom had a few holes (I know this is odd) that were unattractive but did not impact the function of the bath. I didn&#39;t realize that replacing the tub meant possibly tearing down walls to make way for a new tub; my contractor recommended, and we agreed to, replacing the tub with a walk-in, ceramic-tiled shower. The guest bathroom had cabinet drawers that sagged and a stark, commercial-like mirror. We&#39;ve replaced the flooring that was rotting due to water damage, brought the sink placement up to current building code, put in exhaust fans, and added decorative lighting and mirrors. </p> <p>Cost for both bathrooms of approximately $15,000.</p> <p><strong>Doors</strong></p> <p>Fixing the main entry door was much more complicated than I imagined. I wanted to replace an oak door that was cracked, which seemed like a pretty simple thing to do. Also, I wanted to replace a storm door, which was easily done. First I learned (through a series of trips to the hardware store and varied conversations with door/millwork pros) that I didn&#39;t want to replace the door but the <em>slab</em>. Replacing the entire door involves replacing the <em>door unit</em>, which can run thousands of dollars with decorative sidelights, etc. I was looking for a less expensive option. </p> <p>I liked solid oak doors and picked one out. Then I read all about the finishing process. Apparently if I did not finish the door to precise specifications and if I let heat trap between the oak door and storm door (by closing the doors during the day, a common practice), then the warranty was void. Imprecise finishing and heat build-up would cause the door to crack, which was the reason I was replacing the door. So, after more interaction with the millwork pros, and consultation with my husband who was familiar with the difficulties of applying finishes, I opted for a fiberglass door. Just in case anyone else is in the door-replacement market, you may not be able to get a fiberglass door to the dimensions of your door frame; it&#39;s easier to cut a wood door than change the fiberglass mold.</p> <p>I&#39;ve also replaced a storm door leading to my deck and put in french doors to replace a not-really-working sliding glass door. </p> <p>Cost of $2,500 (in 2007 and 1997 dollars).</p> <p><strong>Garage</strong></p> <p>There is none. One of the previous owners closed it in to create two bedrooms, where people actually lived, slept, and thrived apparently. The decor is el-cheapo 1970&#39;s do-it-yourself with fake wooden walls and mismatched lighting. I didn&#39;t care about the lack of garage when I moved in (I&#39;m not a car person) but over time, it started to bother me. </p> <p>Now? I have re-purposed one of the rooms ala <a href="http://www.hgtv.com" target="_blank" title="http://www.hgtv.com">HGTV</a> into a library, consolidating stray bookshelves onto one wall and simultaneously covering some of that fake wood, buying a nice bedspread and pillow shams for my daybed (my first-ever pillow shams), and framing and putting up photos. The room has been a godsend now that my kids are getting big and crowding our upstairs space. </p> <p>I am in the process of creating a storage area with the other room and am happy to report that I can see the carpet now (it&#39;s orange and brown btw). </p> <p>Cost = $0</p> <p>So, don&#39;t do what I did: look closely at the materials and think very seriously about renovation projects before you buy. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-details-i-overlooked-the-first-time">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for">9 Costly Things New Homeowners Don&#039;t Prepare For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-improvements-that-pay-off">Home Improvements That Pay Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-homes-value-with-these-5-projects">Boost Your Home&#039;s Value With These 5 Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-renovations-that-almost-pay-for-themselves">10 Home Renovations That Almost Pay for Themselves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-save-money-on-new-flooring">5 Ways to Save Money on New Flooring</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing home improvement materials new homes renovations repairs Tue, 10 Jul 2007 21:18:39 +0000 Julie Rains 783 at http://www.wisebread.com