appliances http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/689/all en-US 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Home Warranty http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-home-warranty <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-home-warranty" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-516251216.jpg" alt="make the most of your home warranty" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have ever bought a home with a real estate agent, chances are they told you they convinced the seller to include a home warranty in the deal.</p> <p>Unfortunately, those home warranties often turn out to be difficult to use. I have a friend in Florida whose central air system failed twice while the home was still under warranty, and the company found a different reason each time to deny the claim. I myself have had home warranty companies (initially) deny a claim for a clogged drain and a broken garbage disposal. Even when the warranty does cover a problem, many consumers are disappointed with the quality of the repair service.</p> <p>Is it impossible to get results from a home warranty? No, it's not. While I'm not a huge fan of the policies, I personally have had home warranties pay for themselves several times over. It wasn't easy, though. Here are some tactics for getting the most out of your home warranty.</p> <h2>Shop Around for Policies</h2> <p>Not all home warranties are created equal. If you're buying your own warranty, first check the company's reputation, and then look at the different levels of coverage it offers. If the warranty is being given to you with a home sale, you can ask your real estate agent the same questions.</p> <h2>When Something Breaks, Contact the Warranty Company First</h2> <p>You have no heat in the dead of winter! Shouldn't you call the furnace company first and worry about getting compensated for it later? Not so fast. The home warranty company may not cover a repair if you hire someone first, and later contact them.</p> <p>Some warranty companies offer 24/7 support, but if the warranty company puts you on hold forever or can't send a technician for a week, you may be in a tough spot. What you do then comes down to how much you want your claim covered, and how much damage &mdash; like frozen pipes &mdash; might occur while you wait.</p> <h2>Read Your Contract Before Calling</h2> <p>When filing your claim, explain exactly how your problem qualifies for warranty coverage. For instance, say your warranty covers appliances but not plumbing. Your dishwasher failed and caused water damage to your kitchen floor. Don't call and simply tell them you have flood damage in your kitchen. Call and report that your warranty-covered dishwasher malfunctioned and damaged your floor.</p> <h2>Be Persistent, Both With Phone Agents and Service Providers</h2> <p>Continuing with the above scenario, if the phone agent tells you your floor damage isn't covered, have the contract handy so you can cite the passages that support your claim. And if the agent isn't helping you, ask to be transferred to a manager. Follow up in writing or by email if denied.</p> <p>Once a service provider is dispatched, be present for the visit. Some providers will show up, charge the visit fee, and say that the repair isn't covered &mdash; without thoroughly investigating. If they try to say it's not covered, point out why it should be. Contact their supervisor if necessary before paying the fee.</p> <h2>Ask If You Have a Choice of Service Providers</h2> <p>Before agreeing to allow a service provider into your home, check their online reviews. In my experience, home warranty companies sometimes send low-rated providers. You can look up a provider on Angie's List or Yelp quickly while on the phone with the service company. If it's a terrible company, ask to have a better one dispatched.</p> <h2>Ask If You Have the Option of Taking a Cash Payment</h2> <p>Warranty companies do sometimes offer cash instead of replacing an appliance. On the downside, the cash they pay probably won't cover your true replacement cost. On the upside, if you get the cash, you can choose the model and installer you want.</p> <p>My home warranty company offered a $500 check when our water heater broke shortly after we bought our current home. Our new water heater cost twice that with installation, but we were glad to have the flexibility to upgrade the unit and work with a more reputable plumber than the warranty company initially sent.</p> <h2>Be Persistent Even If You're Not Sure Who's Right</h2> <p>The home warranty initially refused to cover my clogged drain because it was in the basement, leading to the outside of the house, and they only covered the inside the house. Was this argument valid? I wasn't sure, but because it required jackhammering and repairing my basement floor, it was going to be a very expensive repair &mdash; so I just kept at them. I emailed, I faxed, I called. It took weeks, but I finally got the company to pay for the repair &mdash; probably just to get me off their back.</p> <h2>Don't Schedule Service If You Know the Repair Isn't Covered</h2> <p>When the home warranty company dispatches a service provider to your house, they'll charge you a visit fee of $35 to $100 &mdash; whether they fix anything or not. So there's no sense calling them for a repair that falls outside the coverage, and there's certainly no sense misrepresenting your repair. You'll just lose the service fee.</p> <h2>Keep a Close Eye on Older Appliances and Systems During the Warranty Period</h2> <p>Is your furnace making a funny noise, but you can live with it? If your warranty expires soon, it may be worth paying the visit fee to have a technician check it out, just in case that noise indicates a major problem that will come to a head just after the warranty expires.</p> <h2>Keep Your Expectations in Check</h2> <p>Don't get surprised or angry when your home warranty provider tells you they won't cover a claim. Go in with a lot of patience and persistence on tap, and try your best to get something out of them. In the end, if you end up with a less-than-perfect repair or a smaller-than-desired check, acknowledge that at least you got something. Life's too short to waste time fuming at a company that angered you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-home-warranty">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/4-warranties-that-arent-worth-it">4 Warranties That Aren&#039;t Worth It</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-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-you-money">4 Ways a Home Energy Audit Will Save You Money</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/citimortage-told-me-to-default-on-my-loan-if-i-want-their-help">CitiMortgage Told Me to Default on My Loan</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/making-home-affordable-expanded-again-borrowers-allowed-to-refinance-loans-up-to-125-percent-of-valu">Making Home Affordable expanded again - borrowers allowed to refinance loans up to 125 percent of value</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/what-can-renters-do-if-their-landlords-are-in-foreclosure">What can renters do if their landlords are in foreclosure?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Real Estate and Housing Angie's List appliances cash payouts filing claims home warranties phone agents repairs services Wed, 15 Feb 2017 10:30:29 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1889842 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Decide if It's a "Fund-Worthy" Emergency http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/emergency_fund_piggy_bank_605778350.jpg" alt="Deciding if it&#039;s a fund-worthy emergency" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One crucial component of a sound financial plan is to have a solid emergency fund to protect yourself against unexpected expenses. This fund should cover at least three months' worth of living expenses, and enable you to get through any crisis without too much financial hardship.</p> <p>But how do you to determine when to use your emergency fund? What kinds of expenses qualify as actual &quot;emergencies?&quot; Before you tap into your fund, ask yourself these questions first.</p> <h2>1. Is It a Want or a Need?</h2> <p>This should be common sense, but it's amazing how many people can't discern between something they desire versus something they require. Money to help pay for an important medical procedure is likely a need; it's not a good idea to risk your health just because you don't want to raid your emergency fund. Money to pay the rent or avoid default on a loan would also fall in the &quot;need&quot; category. On the flip side, a new cellphone when your current one is working just fine is probably not what the fund is for. In reality, there are very few needs in life, and they should all generally center on your basic survival.</p> <h2>2. Is It Unexpected?</h2> <p>Christmas is an expensive time. But you have an entire year to prepare for the gift-giving bonanza. A new baby is costly, but you had a nine months to save up and get ready for the new arrival. If you've had time to anticipate an event happening and save accordingly, it's best to avoid dipping into your emergency fund to pay for it. Save your emergency fund for things such as layoffs, broken appliances, medical emergencies, and other things that you truly didn't see coming.</p> <h2>3. Is It Urgent?</h2> <p>A refrigerator that no longer works is something you probably want to replace right away. A car that breaks down is something you'll want to get fixed immediately if you rely on it to get to work. But there are many bad events that aren't &quot;emergencies&quot; in the sense of requiring immediate action.</p> <h2>4. Can You Defer Payments?</h2> <p>Let's say your heat pump is busted and needs to be replaced. Price tag is in the thousands. But it's wintertime, so this seems like an emergency, right? Perhaps, but it's worth finding out if you can pay for the new heat pump in installments, or even avoid paying anything immediately. It may be possible to pay for this pricey item over time and even avoid interest payments. This doesn't get you off the hook in paying for the item, but it may buy you some time to save a little extra or earn extra income so you don't have to raid your emergency fund. Just be sure to read the fine print of any agreement.</p> <h2>5. What Are the Financial Consequences if You Don't Pay?</h2> <p>It's often tempting to use a credit card or loan to borrow funds when an emergency happens. But when you borrow, you're likely to pay interest, so you'll end up paying more in the long run. High-interest credit cards, in particular, can have a severe impact on your overall financial well-being, and payday loans are even worse. There may be times when borrowing may be necessary in order to maintain some cash reserves (you never want to tap out an emergency fund completely), but it's important to look at the broader, long-term impact on your finances. And don't even think about not paying at all, as that could negatively impact your credit score.</p> <h2>6. Are You Legally Obligated to Pay?</h2> <p>If your car breaks down, you may want tap your emergency fund to get it fixed, but no one is requiring you to do so. Things are different, however, when you are faced with a situation where you are required, by law, to pay up. Perhaps it's a tax bill, or a legal judgment against you. In these cases, it's almost always best to pay &mdash; there could fines, or even jail time. If dipping into your emergency fund helps you avoid trouble with the law, it's worth it.</p> <h2>7. Have You Exhausted All Your Saving Options?</h2> <p>Let's say you have a roof that's leaky and in need of big repairs. Before you shell out thousands of dollars to a major contractor, examine first whether you can find money by cutting everyday expenses. It's possible that you could do a small repair now, aggressively save for a few months, then take care of the bigger job. It's amazing how much money you can &quot;find&quot; by taking a knife to your spending.</p> <h2>8. Is the Emergency for Yourself, or Another Person?</h2> <p>There may be times when a friend or loved one comes to you in desperate need of money. You may be tempted to raid your emergency fund to address their problem. This is a very tricky situation, as it's generally in our nature to want to help those close to us. But remember that your emergency fund is designed to address emergencies that might impact you, not other people. It's fine to give loved ones a hand, but it gets dangerous when you put your own financial health at risk to make it happen.</p> <p>This doesn't mean you should be a straight-up coldhearted person, however. If you believe that you may encounter instances when friends or family members will be in need, consider making your emergency fund larger to take that possibility into account. Even better, open a separate sub-account, so that your own emergency fund remains untouched.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency">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/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</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/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</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/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</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/9-financial-skills-everyone-needs-during-hard-times">9 Financial Skills Everyone Needs During Hard Times</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/join-america-saves-week-february-24-to-march-2nd">Join America Saves Week February 24 to March 2nd</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance appliances budgeting Cars emergencies emergency fund saving unexpected urgent Mon, 28 Nov 2016 11:31:04 +0000 Tim Lemke 1835353 at http://www.wisebread.com These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_new_house_62152676.jpg" alt="Couple learning features homebuyers want most" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Interested in buying a new home? It's a good idea to be aware of what new homebuyers are looking for. I interviewed Markus Brown, a Realtor in Orange County, California, about what he sees buyers looking for in potential new homes. The following features are currently generating a lot of demand, which may potentially translate to higher home values.</p> <h2>1. An Open Floor Plan</h2> <p>The days of compartmentalized rooms all separated by walls and doors are gone, and the era of <a href="https://www.newhomesource.com/resourcecenter/articles/top-10-features-home-buyers-want">connected living</a> continues to be one of top new home trends. Specifically, buyers &quot;want the kitchen to be open to the family room, which creates the &quot;great room&quot; as it's most typically defined,&quot; says Brown. Homebuyers are also looking for an open floor plan kitchen, as it allows people to flow to and from the heart of the home during gatherings.</p> <h2>2. Hardwood Floors</h2> <p>Forget the wall-to-wall carpet, today's homebuyers are looking for <a href="http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/03/housing-preferences-across-generations-part-i/">hardwood floors</a> on the main floor of the home, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Hardwood flooring looks especially beautiful when flowing throughout an open floor plan.</p> <h2>3. A Modern Kitchen</h2> <p>New homebuyers are looking not just for an updated kitchen, but a <a href="http://www.inman.com/2016/02/16/10-key-design-trends-buyers-want-sellers-need-2016/">modern kitchen design</a> that hits the latest trends. Granite continues to trend, but the pattern in the granite tends to be characterized by more &quot;movement and flow,&quot; according to Brown, as opposed to a busy, speckled look. Quartz aggregates are a popular alternative for countertops. Floor tile has been growing in size, with large rectangular tiles (and fewer grout lines) leading the trends. Keeping hardwood flooring flowing throughout the kitchen and living spaces is also very popular.</p> <p>The trendiest kitchens have a large island that doubles as an eating space, combining cooking and eating/entertaining in one feature. Open shelving has seen a resurgence in interest, but it can be a polarizing feature that some love and some don't.</p> <p>Brown points out that modern backsplash finishes are important, and he has seen a trend toward the &quot;subway tile patterns that were popular in the 20s and 30s.&quot;&nbsp;Pullout shelves and self-closing doors in the kitchen are also a plus.</p> <h2>4. Plenty of Storage</h2> <p>Along with an open floor plan comes a need for ample storage to keep those open spaces clutter free. New homebuyers are looking for pantries, linen closets, and storage areas such as a separate laundry room, mudroom, and cabinetry in the garage to help them stay organized and to keep the clutter out of sight. In fact, the most recent survey by the <a href="http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/03/housing-preferences-across-generations-part-i/">National Association of Home Builders</a> (NAHB) reports that 92% of buyers want a laundry room, making it the most desired feature of a new home.</p> <h2>5. Multi-Generational Living</h2> <p>Many new homebuyers appreciate the possibility to house an older parent or family member, if not full-time, at least part-time with comfortable guest quarters. A guest room on the ground floor with a full bathroom is one of the features that makes multigenerational living more comfortable for everyone.</p> <h2>6. Multi-Functional Space</h2> <p>Something many new homebuyers are looking for is a &quot;homework loft,&quot; &quot;gaming loft,&quot; or some kind of multifunctional space within the home. This could be a desk located on a second floor loft outside the bedrooms, or an area off the living room or kitchen which can be used for various needs. &quot;The loft and great room are mutually dependent in many ways,&quot; says Brown, because along with greater open space comes a need for a place for kids to hang out separately from adults.</p> <h2>7. Indoor-Outdoor Living</h2> <p>Today's homebuyers are looking for ways to incorporate the outdoors into their daily lives. Millennials and younger buyers, in particular, are <a href="http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/03/housing-preferences-across-generations-part-i/">increasingly demanding a patio</a> and multiple outdoor areas. Outdoor living space also increases the functional square footage of a home. Having an outdoor kitchen and entertaining space can be very attractive to new homebuyers. Sliding doors or French doors leading to a large patio that encourages flow between indoors and outdoors are often coveted features.</p> <p>The &quot;California room&quot; or &quot;outdoor living room&quot; is an increasingly popular concept, according to Brown. A California room is a space that seamlessly blends indoor and outdoor living, usually comprised of a covered patio or sunroom, comfortable furnishings, and easy access to both inside and outside.</p> <h2>8. Energy Efficiency and Eco-Conscious Living</h2> <p>Energy efficiency is a feature that is becoming increasingly important. Energy Star rated appliances, windows, and an Energy Star rated whole home were desired by <a href="http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/03/housing-preferences-across-generations-part-i/">over 80%</a> of new homebuyers. Features like a whole house fan, solar &quot;readiness&quot; (infrastructure in place for solar panels), solar water heater, heat pump heater/air conditioner, and &quot;smart&quot; thermostats can all appeal to the eco-conscious buyer. &quot;In certain areas of the country,&quot; notes Brown, &quot;drought-tolerant and low-maintenance landscaping are also important.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">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/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers</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/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</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/4-ways-to-buy-a-house-without-a-mortgage">4 Ways to Buy a House Without a Mortgage</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-pros-and-cons-of-paying-cash-for-a-house">The Pros and Cons of Paying Cash for a House</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/turn-one-room-into-two-with-these-10-simple-tricks">Turn One Room Into Two With These 10 Simple Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing appliances features floor plans homebuyers homeowners housing market interior design modern new house Thu, 29 Sep 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1800745 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways a Home Energy Audit Will Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-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/home_energy_audit_47402620.jpg" alt="Learning how a home energy audit will save you money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Feel like your home's utility bills are too high? You're not alone. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that the average monthly electrical bill for U.S. homes stood at just over $114 a month in 2014. And the U.S. Energy Information Administration suggests that U.S. homes relying on natural gas would spend an average of $578 during the winter for heat.</p> <p>If your monthly electric and gas bills are too high, it might be time to <a href="http://www.resnet.us/directory/search">call in an energy auditor</a> to perform a home energy audit. During an audit, an inspector will tour your home and run tests to determine where your home is losing energy, and money &mdash; potentially helping you shave 15% or more off your utility bills.</p> <p>Here are four ways in which a home energy audit can save you money.</p> <h2>Inspire You to Install More Efficient Windows</h2> <p>An energy auditor will take a close look at your home's windows. It's more costly to cool and heat your home when leaky windows are letting that hot and cold air escape. Your furnace and air conditioning units have to work harder, consuming more energy, and therefore money.</p> <p>According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR program, homeowners can save $126 to $465 a year in energy costs when replacing drafty single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR-qualified replacements. That figure is less impressive when homeowners replace inefficient double-pane windows, but you can still save from $27 to $111 a year with more efficient versions, according to ENERGY STAR.</p> <h2>Identify Other Leaks in Your Home's Envelope</h2> <p>Hot and cool air can escape through plenty of cracks in your home's seal. That's why energy auditors will test your home with a blower door. According to RESNET, this is a powerful fan that an auditor will mount in the frame of an exterior door. The fan will then pull air out of your home, lowering the air pressure inside your residence.</p> <p>The higher outside air pressure will then flow into your home through all of its unsealed cracks and openings. Your auditor will then use diagnostic tools to determine how much air is leaking from your home and from where it is escaping. Sealing these leaky areas will reduce your monthly energy bills.</p> <h2>Help You Determine if You Need More Insulation</h2> <p>A home energy audit will also help you decide if your home's walls lack proper insulation.</p> <p>The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that U.S. homeowners can save an average of 15% on their home's heating and cooling costs, or an average of 11% on their home's total energy costs, by air-sealing their homes and adding insulation to their attics and walls.</p> <p>During an inspection, an energy auditor will use thermal cameras to determine hot and cold spots in a home's walls and flooring. This will help the auditor determine where your home is lacking proper insulation. Installing new energy-efficient insulation can then have a significant impact on your home's monthly utility bills.</p> <h2>Inspire You to Replace That Washing Machine From 1995</h2> <p>You might be thrilled that your home's washing machine is 20 years old and still chugging along, or that you haven't had to replace your refrigerator in 15 years. But those reliable, old appliances might be costing you too much money each month.</p> <p>The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that home appliances account for about 13% of your home's total energy costs. Replacing older, inefficient models can save you money each month.</p> <p>The Department of Energy says that ENERGY STAR-qualified washing machines and refrigerators are about 20% more energy efficient than are standard models. ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwashers only use about 5.8 gallons of water each cycle or less, according to the Department of Energy, while dishwashers purchased before 1994 use an average of more than 10 gallons for each cycle.</p> <p>Newer, more energy-efficient models of these appliances will cost more. But those savings will add up each month. Do some quick math to determine how long it will take before your average energy savings outweigh the extra cost of buying an energy-efficient refrigerator, dishwasher, or washer and dryer.</p> <p><em>Have you ever had an energy audit done on your home? What did it tell you about your home's energy use?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-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-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/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</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/how-much-money-will-you-save-with-energy-star-appliances">How Much Money Will You Save With Energy Star Appliances?</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/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money">Do These 10 Green Appliances Actually Save You Money?</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-simple-ways-to-make-your-refrigerator-more-efficient">8 Simple Ways to Make Your Refrigerator More Efficient</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-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-home-warranty">10 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Home Warranty</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Real Estate and Housing appliances energy audit energy efficiency energy star inspection insulation leaks wasting money Windows Tue, 30 Aug 2016 09:30:29 +0000 Dan Rafter 1780053 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_cash_grass_13020597.jpg" alt="Finding hidden home money pits you don&#039;t notice" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are so many expenses associated with paying the bills for a home that it is easy to miss money leaks that are costing you big dollars. Putting a plug into these leaks can make a big difference in your budget. From old-school thermostats to faulty plumbing, here are some of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pets-old-cars-and-3-other-common-money-pits" target="_blank">top money-pits</a> to watch for:</p> <h2>1. Old School Thermostats</h2> <p>I recently replaced my 1980s era thermostat with a new one for about $50. Why? Because the old thermostat was leaking money every day. My new thermostat is programmable, so I can automatically avoid heating or cooling the house when no one is home. It's paid for itself in just the first few months.</p> <h2>2. Drafty Windows</h2> <p>It may sound extreme to replace windows to save money on your heating bill, but I was paying hundreds of dollars every month for propane when I moved into an old house with drafty single pane windows. Old windows are almost as inefficient as having your windows open all winter. Replacing them will reduce your utility bill and add to the resale value of your house. If replacing windows is too big of a project, you can install clear plastic film over your windows for a few dollars each to help keep the money from flowing out.</p> <h2>3. Old HVAC Systems</h2> <p>I once lived in a house with a 40-year-old furnace. My home inspector said it was built like a tank, and I think it was about as energy efficient as a tank, too. If you plan to stay in your house for a few years, an energy efficient HVAC system can easily pay for itself through lower energy bills. Plus, the new system will increase the value of your house.</p> <h2>4. Poor Insulation</h2> <p>Don't be fooled: It can be hard to notice a poorly insulated home because the furnace can compensate for this by running more to try to maintain the desired temperature. The most effective place to upgrade your home's insulation is in the attic, since warm air is less dense than cold air and a lot of heat transfer happens through the attic and roof as warm air rises. If your floors are cold, you may benefit from adding insulation under your house, as well. Insulating walls can be a bigger project, but insulation can be often blown into the joint space in walls in a matter of just hours.</p> <h2>5. Old Appliances</h2> <p>Old appliances are energy hogs compared with newer, more efficient models &mdash; especially refrigerators, freezers, and dishwashers. It may be hard to notice that old appliance sitting there quietly sucking down extra electricity all the time, but the cost adds up every month. Some utility companies offer incentives to take away old appliances in order to encourage people to replace them with energy efficient models. And you may even qualify for <a href="https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits">tax credits</a> related to energy efficient appliances.</p> <h2>6. Bad Mortgage Rates</h2> <p>When you got your mortgage, you probably shopped around and got the best rate you could find. But have you checked your rate lately? You may be paying more than you need to for interest every month. If you plan to stay in your house for a few years, refinancing your mortgage to get a better interest rate can help you hang on to more of your money each month instead of giving it to the banker.</p> <h2>7. Leaky Roof or Gutters</h2> <p>You won't get a bill right away if you have a leaky roof or gutters that don't work properly, but deferred maintenance is like a time bomb that can cost you a huge amount of money in the future in the form of repair bills and reduced property value. Take care of water leaks before they become a money pit.</p> <h2>8. Long Commutes</h2> <p>If your home is far away from work, shopping, and school, your commute is costing you time and money every day. Unfortunately, avoiding this money pit may require moving to a different house. I was able to move about 10 minutes closer to my work location, and it made a big difference.</p> <h2>9. Too Much House</h2> <p>If your house is bigger than you really need, you are paying extra every month for your mortgage, utility bills, and property taxes. Consider downsizing to avoid sinking money into paying for space you are not fully utilizing.</p> <p><em>Which of these home money pits are costing you money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">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/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-you-money">4 Ways a Home Energy Audit Will Save You Money</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-surprising-ways-real-estate-cuts-your-taxes">10 Surprising Ways Real Estate Cuts Your Taxes</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/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</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-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">12 Green Living Habits That&#039;ll Save You Every Month</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/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage">Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing appliances commuting energy efficient money pits money sucks mortgages thermostats wasting money Windows Mon, 01 Aug 2016 10:00:14 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1757850 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Smart Ways to Help Your Appliances Retain Their Value http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-help-your-appliances-retain-their-value <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-smart-ways-to-help-your-appliances-retain-their-value" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_food_fridge_76458411.jpg" alt="Woman finding smart ways to help appliances retain their value" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Unlike any car you buy, your home appliances can retain their value so long as you give them a little TLC. Maximize the life span and potential resale return of your washer, dryer, fridge, and more with some basic maintenance.</p> <h2>1. Give the Inside the What-For</h2> <p>Begin with a thorough clean of the inside of your fridge, microwave, stovetop, and dishwasher. Be sure to test all the buttons on your keypad control panels &mdash; even the ones you don't use every day. Check for deterioration in the rubber seals around your dishwasher &mdash; a minor crack can quickly lead to a flooded kitchen. (Or, YA know, when your husband puts laundry detergent in it because you ran out of dishwasher liquid.)</p> <p>Mike Clear, VP of operations at American Home Shield, a home warranty provider, offers a few more pro tips.</p> <p>&quot;Avoid using sopping wet sponges or rags to clean your appliances' keypad control panels,&quot; he says. &quot;You may be slowly damaging the control panels on your appliances during your routine cleaning which could eventually short-circuit the panel.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Work Your Way to the Basement</h2> <p>As temperatures heat up and A/C takes center stage, show your furnace and heating system some TLC in the offseason to be sure you're not left in the cold next winter.</p> <p>&quot;Keep the area around your air returns clean and unobstructed,&quot; Clear says. &quot;Extra dirt on your filter means the unit will have to work too hard and run longer, making it less cost-efficient and reducing its life span. Check to see if the cover near your furnace's filter is in place. If not, you could be risking fire and other safety hazards. Regular maintenance by a professional should be scheduled well before cold weather sets back in.&quot;</p> <p>That last point is important: Don't forgo regular maintenance. Even if you inspect your furnace and everything looks fine, leaving untreated problems to only get worse will only inconvenience you further when you need it most.</p> <h2>3. Mind the Hard-Water Buildup</h2> <p>Those who live in hard water areas (70% of Americans do) struggle with hard mineral scale buildup, which can shorten the life of appliances.</p> <p>Products like <a href="http://amzn.to/28PUBnx">Ionizer Armor</a> condition the water and reduce the amount of minerals that make their way into the appliances using magnet technology. Just snap it onto the water line and forget it &mdash;lest you want to live in a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s62KlfeLO_M">Zest commercial</a>.</p> <h2>4. Consider Your Appliances' Cosmetic Aesthetic</h2> <p>It's not just the moving parts that contribute to the resale value of your appliances &mdash; they have to look good inside and out.</p> <p>&quot;Periodically cleaning out the entire contents of a freezer/refrigerator and doing a deep clean keeps the appliance looking new and removes any remnant odors or stains,&quot; says Wes Taft, co-founder of moveCHECK, an app to make moves less stressful. &quot;The longer those sit, the harder they are to get rid of. An appliance with a stain or dull finish will linger in a potential buyer's mind as a concern when making an offer on the home or the appliance.&quot;</p> <p>So, yeah, it's time to ditch all those science experiments hiding behind the expired milk.</p> <h2>5. Keep the A/C Too Legit to Quit</h2> <p>During the warmer months, it's crucial that your air filter and A/C system are working properly. You know this homebody requires climate control!</p> <p>&quot;Check your air filters regularly,&quot; advises Clear. &quot;Cleaning or replacing your A/C system's air filter can help prevent damage, inefficiencies, and keeps your air clean. Schedule annual maintenance on your A/C now, so you can be sure your unit is in top shape before being put to the test with this summer's high temps.&quot;</p> <p>Try not to wait for the first heat wave or minor A/C hiccup. You'll be kicking yourself (and sweating) later if you put off A/C maintenance until after it breaks down.</p> <h2>6. Know When to Call a Professional</h2> <p>We're all about DIY here at Wise Bread, but if you're in over your head when trying to fix a broken appliance, don't be ashamed to call in a knowledgeable professional. Eating crow is much better than being electrocuted to death.</p> <p>&quot;Be mindful of what may seem like a quick DIY fix,&quot; says Clear. &quot;This can be especially disastrous when it comes to fixing large and expensive appliances and home systems. Leave it to the pros.&quot;</p> <p><em>What do you do to help your appliances retain their value? Let me 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/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-help-your-appliances-retain-their-value">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/this-is-how-long-these-6-appliances-should-last">This Is How Long These 6 Appliances Should Last</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/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</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/turn-off-your-air-conditioning">Turn Off Your Air Conditioning</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/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter">My 16 Favorite Ways to Get Rid of Clutter</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/make-money-and-declutter-by-selling-these-5-unlikely-treasures">Make Money and Declutter by Selling These 5 Unlikely Treasures</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living air conditioning appliances cleaning furnace hard water home maintenance resale value Wed, 29 Jun 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1740459 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: How to Buy 3 Major Appliances for Just $700 http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-buy-3-major-appliances-for-just-700 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-how-to-buy-3-major-appliances-for-just-700" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_food_fridge_000038979176.jpg" alt="Woman buying major appliance for just $700" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found helpful articles on how to get the best deals on major household appliances, simple ways to save at Walgreens, and how to spend less on your family vacation.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/how-to-save-money-used-appliances/">This Couple Bought 3 Major Household Appliances for Just $700. Here&rsquo;s How</a> &mdash; You can buy used appliances anywhere from Craigslist to yard sales, but your best bet will probably be a used appliance store that offers you a a warranty. [The Penny Hoarder]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Ways-Save-Money-Walgreens-40823225">9 Insanely Simple Ways to Save Cash at Walgreens</a> &mdash; Check on online-only deals on Walgreen's website to find savings you won't get at the brick-and-mortar store. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cultofmoney.com/2016/04/06/average-american-spends-vacation/">What the Average American Family Spends on Vacation (And How You Can Spend Less)</a> &mdash; On average, a family of four spends about $4,500 on vacation. You can lower the costs dramatically by vacationing during the off seasons, when flights and hotels are much cheaper. [Cult of Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.adebtfreestressfreelife.com/spring-clean-your-finances-2/">10 Outrageously Effective Ways to Spring Clean Your Finances</a> &mdash; Not paying your bills at the same time each month causes money clutter. Decide which day(s) you'll sit down to pay bills and mark it on your calendar for the rest of the year. [A Debt Free Mess Free Life]</p> <p><a href="http://skintdad.co.uk/how-to-save-money-on-meat/">7 Ways to Save Money on Meat</a> &mdash; Shop at the butcher's counter if your supermarket has one. They'll often offer a variety of services, too, like fileting, trimming, de-boning, and marinating your meat. [The Skint Dad Blog]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/5-helpful-tips-that-will-make-it-easier-to-focus-on-your-goals/">5 Helpful Tips That Will Make It Easier to Focus on Your Goals</a> &mdash; Create a vision board, whether on your bedroom wall or computer, to remind you of what you are trying to accomplish. Whenever you look at the board, you'll be motivated to keep pressing on towards your goal. [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/the-challenge-of-moving-to-a-smaller-home/">The Challenge of Moving to a Smaller Home</a> &mdash; How much space is too much &mdash; or too little? Focus on the areas that you'll actually use in your day-to-day rather than the space that you might use once in a while. [The Simple Dollar]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dontpayfull.com/blog/cheap-honeymoon-destinations">The Cheapest Honeymoon Destinations from Around the World</a> &mdash; The city of Goa in India has a unique blend of modern facilities and old world charm. [Don't Pay Full]</p> <p><a href="http://www.artofmanliness.com/2016/04/06/how-to-take-care-of-your-feet-on-a-hike-or-ruck/">How to Take Care of Your Feet on a Hike or Ruck</a> &mdash; Start with a well-fitted pair of boots that you've already broken in. Make sure they're laced correctly! Your heel should should be firmly at the back of the boot without cutting of circulation to your toes and in-step. [The Art of Manliness]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/4-ways-teens-aren-t-playing-it-safe-online">4 Ways Teens Aren&rsquo;t Playing it Safe Online</a> &mdash; Teens these days are savvier than ever when it comes to using technology, but many are unaware of the dangers and consequences of sharing their whole life on the internet. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-buy-3-major-appliances-for-just-700">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/the-5-best-vacuum-sealers">The 5 Best Vacuum Sealers</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/the-5-best-refrigerators">The 5 Best Refrigerators</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-ways-to-save-big-on-appliances">8 Ways to Save Big on Appliances</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-humidifiers">The 5 Best Humidifiers</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-home-buys-you-should-never-skimp-on">8 Home Buys You Should Never Skimp On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping appliances best money tips Fri, 08 Apr 2016 09:30:27 +0000 Amy Lu 1686653 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Vacuum Sealers http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-vacuum-sealers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-vacuum-sealers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/food_vacuum_sealer_000054412644.jpg" alt="Using best vacuum sealers to preserve fresh food" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A vacuum sealer can help keep food fresher, longer. In fact, some sealers promise to keep food fresher for 3-5 times as long, which can save you a lot of money over time. Once you vacuum seal the bags, the food won&rsquo;t take up as much room in your pantry, fridge, and freezer &mdash; saving you valuable space.</p> <p>Investing in a vacuum sealer means you can stop throwing food &mdash; and money &mdash; away. Now that your food will last longer, it can mean fewer trips to the grocery store, more affordable bulk buying, and quicker cooking and meat marinating.</p> <h2>What Is a Vacuum Sealer?</h2> <p>A vacuum sealer applies heat to remove the air from bags and containers and create an airtight seal. It can seal any bags so that air is not allowed to enter and freshness is not allowed to escape. This means that the food will stay fresh and maintain the same taste and texture for longer. Vacuum sealing can also stop the growth of microorganisms in some foods, like red meat, and can prevent freezer burn, which can spoil food and ruin its texture and flavor.</p> <p>A vacuum sealer is ideal for personal and commercial use, and can also help you stock up for camping trips, road trips, emergency supplies, bulk buy shopping trips, and more. You can use it to seal anything in a bag, including meats, cheeses, dried foods, fruit, coffee, chips, and other items for the fridge, freezer, and pantry. You can even use it to protect valuable electronics, jewelry, and documents in the event of a flood or water damage. Some reviewers also find it useful for protecting their valuable items on kayaking trips.</p> <h2>Top 5 Vacuum Sealers</h2> <h3>Weston Products Vacuum Sealer</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GD7PU5O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00GD7PU5O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=6VPG2UQ4WW4ETUN6"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/weston.jpg" width="245" height="201" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GD7PU5O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00GD7PU5O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=6VPG2UQ4WW4ETUN6">Weston Products Vacuum Sealer</a> is unique because it will allow you to marinate and preserve your fresh foods with one high quality unit. This commercial quality vacuum sealer has a simple one-touch operation and easy-to-use control panel, so you can master it in no time. It features 23' HG vacuum strength, a 210-watt motor, and is ETL certified, so it is ideal for both home and professional use. It has a responsive pulse mode and bright blue indicator lights. There is also a manual seal mode, so you can control the vacuum pressure for certain jobs. The vacuum pump has a fan-cooled motor so you won&rsquo;t need to worry about it overheating. It has a sleek black design, brushed stainless steel lid, and an angled vacuum chamber to prevent liquids from entering.</p> <p>Cook&rsquo;s Illustrated found that this sealer will work with a variety of affordable bags, canisters, and rolls. Weston makes some of the best vacuum sealers on the market. This one is constructed of high quality parts and should perform reliably for years. It is Cook&rsquo;s Illustrated&rsquo;s top pick and recommended by America&rsquo;s Test Kitchen. It also has outstanding online reviews and customers have found that this sealer can keep food fresh for more than three months.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GD7PU5O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00GD7PU5O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=6VPG2UQ4WW4ETUN6"><em>Currently $184.49 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Seal-a-Meal Vacuum Sealer</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008HMWC4A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B008HMWC4A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=6DMCHOEB2EORPYRD"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/seal%20a%20meal.jpg" width="245" height="163" align="right" alt="" /></a>The affordable <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008HMWC4A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B008HMWC4A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=6DMCHOEB2EORPYRD">Seal-a-Meal Vacuum Sealer</a> offers a compact design that won&rsquo;t take up much space on your counter. It is very easy to use; you simply place the bag into the sealer, press and hold the handle down until the green, hands-free indicator light turns on, and then allow the sealer to do the rest. Once the cycle is complete, the motor and the sealing indicator light will turn off. It comes with a dishwasher-safe removable drip tray and features smooth, easy clean surfaces for quick cleanup. It can keep frozen food ice-free for more than three months. However, because it does not have a manual pulse mode, it can crush crunchy items like chips. It fits quart and gallon heat-seal bags and rolls, and comes with four quart-sized bags to get you started.</p> <p>It is recommended by Cook&rsquo;s Illustrated and is the most affordable option on our list. It is also backed by outstanding online reviews, including nearly 700 five-star reviews on Amazon.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008HMWC4A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B008HMWC4A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=6DMCHOEB2EORPYRD"><em>Currently $37.45 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System With Starter Kit</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003U738ZE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B003U738ZE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=JS6HTPZE2QJOKG7H"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/foodsaver.jpg" width="200" height="200" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003U738ZE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B003U738ZE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=JS6HTPZE2QJOKG7H">FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System</a> has two preset sealing modes, and you can set it for the type of food you&rsquo;re sealing. It offers moist/dry food settings and an accessory port and hose to seal canisters. It is small, quiet, lightweight, and can keep food fresh for more than three months. The CrushFree instant seal will help protect delicate foods from being crushed during the sealing process. It is easy to use. You simply feed the bag into the sealer, lower the handle, and allow the automated system to take care of itself. It has dishwasher-safe removable parts and a removable drip tray for easy cleaning. It can be stored vertically to save space. It has a convenient roll holder and built-in bag cutter, so you can create your own custom size bags and save even more money.</p> <p>This starter kit comes with everything you need, including a vacuum sealer roll, five vacuum sealer bags, and an accessory hose. It is recommended by Cook&rsquo;s Illustrated, and Consumer Search selected it as the best cheap external vacuum sealer. It is also backed by a one-year warranty and outstanding online reviews, including nearly 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003U738ZE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B003U738ZE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=JS6HTPZE2QJOKG7H"><em>Currently $119.89 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Waring Pro Pistol Vac Professional Vacuum Sealer System</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008LW73UY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B008LW73UY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=2UYPKOPK6VEBXANY"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/waring.jpg" width="220" height="203" align="right" alt="" /></a>There&rsquo;s no easier way to seal your bags than with the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008LW73UY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B008LW73UY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=2UYPKOPK6VEBXANY">Waring Pro Pistol Vac Professional Vacuum Sealer System</a>. This countertop, hand-held sealing system is easier to use than the other options on our list. It is also small enough to fit in a kitchen drawer, so it won&rsquo;t take up any space on your counter. The heavy-duty, pistol-style vacuum sealer is very portable, so you can use it anywhere in your home or commercial kitchen. The built-in battery offers quiet, reliable performance for about 30 sealings between recharges. Reviewers found that food still looks good even after three months.</p> <p>It comes with two dozen BPA-free, dishwasher-safe reusable valve bags in quart and gallon sizes. The bags are thicker and more reliable than other bags on the market. The bags can also be placed directly into the microwave or boiling water, for easier meal preparation. This means you can prepare custom veggie steamers right in the bags. To use it properly, you need to close the bag with the heavy-duty zipper and then remove the air from the small valve in the corner of the bag. This vacuum sealer is recommended by Cook&rsquo;s Illustrated, and Consumer Search selected it as the best handheld vacuum sealer. It is built to last and has a limited five-year warranty.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008LW73UY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B008LW73UY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=2UYPKOPK6VEBXANY"><em>Currently $67.91 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>FoodSaver 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DI342IW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00DI342IW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=APBAAYPXDR6XJFC6"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/food%20saver.jpg" width="200" height="200" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DI342IW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00DI342IW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=APBAAYPXDR6XJFC6">FoodSaver 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System with Bonus Built-in Retractable Handheld Sealer</a> is unique because it offers both standard heat-seal and handheld vacuuming capabilities in one compact unit. The heat-seal sensor automatically grabs, vacuums, and seals the bag. It can also marinate food in minutes with a convenient marinate mode. The built-in retractable handheld sealer can seal zipper bags, canister, and containers to save you even more money. The sleek design features indicator lights and high quality materials. There is also a roll storage compartment with a built-in slicer that will custom cut bags to size, allowing you to store even large pans of food. It includes a pullout drawer and removable, dishwasher-safe drip tray for easier cleanup. This starter kit has everything you need, including a vacuum sealer roll and 10 bags in quart and gallon size.</p> <p>This is a higher end vacuum sealer that would work just as well in a home or commercial kitchen. It is recommended by Cook&rsquo;s Illustrated and has outstanding online reviews.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DI342IW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00DI342IW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=APBAAYPXDR6XJFC6"><em>Currently $199.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best vacuum sealers. As always, be sure to check <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">Wise Bread's Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-vacuum-sealers">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/the-5-best-digital-food-scales">The 5 Best Digital Food Scales</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/the-5-best-electric-griddles">The 5 Best Electric Griddles</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-5-best-humidifiers">The 5 Best Humidifiers</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-robotic-mops">The 5 Best Robotic Mops</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-kitchen-dish-towels">The 5 Best Kitchen Dish Towels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Shopping appliances Food kitchen appliances product reviews vacuum sealer Wed, 16 Mar 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1660234 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Humidifiers http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-humidifiers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-humidifiers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_girl_humidifier_000034035904.jpg" alt="Girl using best humidifier to improve dry winter air" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A humidifier can help with sinus pain, respiratory problems, asthma, allergies, nose irritation, and even the common cough and flu. It can also help improve your breathing and your sleep quality. If your skin, face, or lips are dry, a humidifier can add moisture and humidity to the room, so you won&rsquo;t have to deal with cold weather symptoms any longer. It can even help promote plant health, reduce static electricity, and protect wood furniture, which is subject to shrinking, cracking, and warping from moisture loss.</p> <p>If you are experiencing dry indoor air, then a humidifier can replenish the moisture. Maintaining the right humidity level can make the body and room feel warmer, which means you can cut your heating costs in the winter.</p> <h2>What Is a Humidifier?</h2> <p>A humidifier is a small device that can add moisture and humidity to a single room or the entire building. Humidifiers are available in cool mist, warm mist, and ultrasonic varieties to best suit your personal preferences. Allergy Buyers Club recommends a cool mist humidifier to combat allergies and a warm mist humidifier to combat asthma or respiratory infections. It is important to keep your humidifier clean and dry when not in use to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi.</p> <h2>Top 5 Humidifiers</h2> <h3>Honeywell Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QAYJPO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002QAYJPO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=TNGJRJB42L7L73PH"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/honeywell.jpg" width="220" height="201" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QAYJPO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002QAYJPO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=TNGJRJB42L7L73PH">Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier</a>, HCM-350, is unique because it features UV technology that kills up to 99% of bacteria, mold, fungus, and viruses found in the water. This means it will only produce clean and germ-free mist. The energy efficient, evaporative tabletop humidifier produces cool mist and can humidify up to 500 square feet of space. The self-regulating evaporative system will naturally adjust the output to the right amount of moisture. The durable tank has a handle for easy carrying, sits flat in the sink for easy filling, and has dishwasher-safe parts and a wide tank opening for easy cleaning. It is easy to use, is virtually leak-proof, and offers excellent output. It has a 1.5-gallon tank capacity and can offer reliable operation for up to 24 hours per filling. It is up to 25% quieter than other evaporative humidifiers. It is easy to clean and leaves no white dust residue. It is available in both black and white and is backed by a three-year limited warranty.</p> <p>This humidifier was selected by Consumer Search as the best cool mist humidifier, is a Consumer Reports&rsquo; recommendation, is recommended by iallergy, is the top recommendation by TheSweetHome.com, and came out on top for multiple independent review sites. It is also backed by outstanding online reviews, including nearly 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. Honeywell is one of the most respected and highly rated brands of humidifiers available, so if this unit isn&rsquo;t right for you, there is likely another Honeywell that will fit your needs.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QAYJPO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002QAYJPO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=TNGJRJB42L7L73PH"><em>Currently $51.07 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Crane Adorable Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008I20FT8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B008I20FT8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=VH6J3HCPBK2M73DZ"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/crane.jpg" width="178" height="220" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008I20FT8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B008I20FT8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=VH6J3HCPBK2M73DZ">Crane Adorable Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier</a> offers a cute, compact, owl design, perfect for a nursery or kids&rsquo; room. While it is equipped with a small one-gallon tank, it offers good moisture output of 2.1-gallons per day. The energy efficient model is easy to use, whisper quiet, and can humidify up to 250 square feet of space. The manual control knob will allow you to adjust the mist output intensity. Once the tank is low on water, the humidifier will automatically shut off. The ultrasonic cool mist operation does not require a filter and can offer reliable operation for up to 24 hours. The removable water tank is easy to clean. It features a one-year warranty and is built to last.</p> <p>This is Consumer Reports&rsquo; top humidifier pick for small rooms, Consumer Search selected it as the best humidifier for a child&rsquo;s room, and Health Magazine selected it as the best option for dry skin and stuffy sinuses. If owls aren&rsquo;t your thing, there are <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GWJD0A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000GWJD0A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=V4MNEHNLRENNPQED">10 different Crane Humidifiers</a> designed to look like all different types of animals, such as a frog, dragon, monkey, and elephant. You might also consider something like the bestselling <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007P9QXQO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B007P9QXQO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=IQK2F2PBMTB6W7P4">Crane Drop Shape Cool Mist Humidifier</a> because Crane offers some of the best humidifiers on the market.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008I20FT8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B008I20FT8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=VH6J3HCPBK2M73DZ"><em>Currently $30.00 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier With Auto Shut-Off</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001FWXKTA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001FWXKTA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=AVJQJ6DIRVCIGZVN"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/vicks.jpg" width="158" height="220" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001FWXKTA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001FWXKTA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=AVJQJ6DIRVCIGZVN">Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier With Auto Shut-Off</a> is unique because it can moisturize the air while making the room feel warmer during the winter. It has two vapor settings, an automatic safety shutoff, and a soft glowing nightlight. It produces up to 95% bacteria-free visible moisture and can humidify up to 400 square feet of space. It offers two settings for ideal comfort and an auto shut-off feature. The one-gallon tank offers up to 12 hours of quiet, reliable operation. It is easy to use, easy to clean with dishwasher-safe parts, and does not require a filter. It also has a three-year limited warranty.</p> <p>The humidifier can be used with water or with Vicks Vaposteam or Kaz Inhalant for added relief. Consumer Reports&rsquo; selected this as one of the best humidifiers for medium-sized rooms and Consumer Search selected it as the best warm mist humidifier. It is also recommended by iallergy and backed by outstanding online reviews, including 1,100 five-star reviews on Amazon.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001FWXKTA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001FWXKTA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=AVJQJ6DIRVCIGZVN"><em>Currently $26.86 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Ultrasonic Dual-Mist Warm/Cool Humidifier</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000O3I2CG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000O3I2CG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=JIQKV7QV7P7V2SAL"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/spt.jpg" width="180" height="200" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000O3I2CG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000O3I2CG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=JIQKV7QV7P7V2SAL">SPT Ultrasonic Dual-Mist Warm/Cool Humidifier with Ion Exchange Filter</a> is unique because it produces either cool or warm mist. With variable humidity levels, it can produce plenty of fine mist to fit your needs. The ION exchange filter treats water to remove calcium and magnesium from hard water, which will prolong the useful life of the humidifier and prevent white dust particles from depositing into the air. The energy efficient model offers whisper quiet, reliable performance.</p> <p>The tabletop humidifier can humidify up to 500 square feet of space and offers a daily output of 2.31 gallons and a maximum of 12 hours usage. The large tank has a carrying handle for easy use and filling. Once the tank is empty, the unit will automatically shut off. It has a sleek, compact design with easy-to-use controls and impressive features, like overheat protection and a rotating nozzle to direct mist in two directions simultaneously. It is easy to use, refill, and clean with an included cleaning brush.</p> <p>This is Consumer Reports&rsquo; top humidifier pick for large rooms, Consumer Search&rsquo;s pick for the best ultrasonic humidifier, the Editors' Choice selection at BabyGearLab.com, and the top rated ultrasonic humidifier at TheSweetHome.com. It is also backed by a one-year limited warranty.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000O3I2CG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000O3I2CG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=JIQKV7QV7P7V2SAL"><em>Currently $65.17 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Air-O-Swiss Travel Ultrasonic Humidifier</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001JL4LZ4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001JL4LZ4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=442E65K6ANV7S6GJ"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/air%20o.jpg" width="128" height="245" align="right" alt="" />Air-O-Swiss humidifiers</a> can be very expensive, but are worth the cost. Fortunately, they now offer an affordable travel ultrasonic humidifier, so you can try the humidifiers everyone is talking about without going broke. If you suffer from dry air symptoms after traveling, then the Air-O-Swiss Travel Ultrasonic Humidifier can provide the relief you need. It is whisper quiet and couldn&rsquo;t be easier to use; all you do is attach your own standard water bottle, plug the unit in, and enjoy the clean moisture.</p> <p>The lightweight, compact device makes it easy to carry anywhere, like in your travel bag or purse. This will allow you to use it anywhere you like, including on your desk, in a hotel, or in a small dorm room. It uses efficient ultrasonic technology and high-frequency vibrations to produce a micro-fine cool mist. It has a 1.2-gallon output and can be used for 24 hours. There is a mist output control so you can control the humidification. It is easy to clean and features an auto shut-off feature when the tank is empty. It includes accessories like a travel bag, power adapter, and exchangeable power plug.</p> <p>Entrepreneur Magazine found that a travel humidifier can provide relief from uncomfortable symptoms caused by dry air and can create a soothing environment, no matter where you are. This humidifier came out on top for several independent review sites and is also backed by outstanding online reviews, including more than 500 five-star reviews on Amazon. It is also recommended by Amazon Baby for your new nursery and by the Allergy Buyers Club for people suffering from allergies. Air-O-Swiss is one of the most respected and highly rated brands of humidifiers available, so if this unit isn&rsquo;t right for you, there is likely another Air-O-Swiss that will fit your needs. If you need something more permanent or for a large room, consider the renowned <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001JL4LZ4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001JL4LZ4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=NTQ3OQSHV7OFUB72">Air-O-Swiss Ultrasonic Humidifier - Warm and Cool Mist</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001JL4LZ4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001JL4LZ4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=442E65K6ANV7S6GJ"><em>Currently $49.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best humidifiers. As always, be sure to check <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">Wise Bread's Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-humidifiers">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/the-5-best-hardwood-floor-cleaners">The 5 Best Hardwood Floor Cleaners</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/the-5-best-pet-wipes">The 5 Best Pet Wipes</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-5-best-vacuum-sealers">The 5 Best Vacuum Sealers</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-paper-napkins">The 5 Best Paper Napkins</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-cast-iron-skillets">The 5 Best Cast Iron Skillets</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Shopping appliances dry air home products humidifiers product reviews winter Fri, 04 Mar 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1656571 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Green Living Habits That'll Save You Every Month http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_watering_plant_000015068906.jpg" alt="Woman having green living habits that&#039;ll save her every month" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Another Earth Day is just around the corner. Let's get a head start on saving the planet with these eco-friendly lifestyle tips that'll also save you moolah every month. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-the-government-pays-you-to-live-green">11 Ways the Government Pays You to Live Green</a>)</p> <h2>1. Take Advantage of Natural Light</h2> <p>I try to keep the lights off in the house as much as possible, even when I go to the bathroom late at night (I use my phone as a flashlight instead) to reduce my overall energy costs. As an alternative to the artificial lights in my house, I take advantage of natural light from the windows during the day (open your doors and blinds) and sometimes candles or other secondary light sources (like my devices) when the sun goes down.</p> <h2>2. Plug Drafts to Reduce Heating Costs</h2> <p>If there are drafts coming in from holes and crevices around your house, the climate-controlled air for which you pay is escaping. Resolve this costly problem by plugging drafts yourself (if you're able to identify the draft location and capable of doing the work) or hiring someone to help you out. Many times, however, the solution to the problem is as simple as putting a towel or blanket in front of doors and wrapping windows and A/C units for the winter.</p> <h2>3. Adjust the Settings on Your Appliances</h2> <p>Your appliances could be working overtime unnecessarily. Check the settings on your fridge, freezer, stove, microwave, and more to determine if they're turned up too high. If they can get the job done properly on lower settings, turn them down.</p> <h2>4. Install a &quot;Greywater&quot; System</h2> <p>Greywater &mdash; essentially any household wastewater with the exception of the toilet &mdash; can be repurposed in other areas around the home to help you cut back on water usage across the board.</p> <p>&quot;A... laundry-to-landscape greywater system can reduce water costs by reusing water used on clothes washing or sink/shower water to irrigate the garden,&quot; says Morgan Vondrak, a certified sustainable landscape designer at Argia Designs in San Francisco. &quot;This is a great way to grow fruit trees and water intensive edible shrubs.&quot;</p> <p>Conservation and green design expert Pablo Solomon suggests a couple more uses for greywater. &quot;Put a dishwashing pan in your sinks and showers to catch water. Also dip out and save your bath water. This greywater is great to flush toilets and to water plants,&quot; he says.</p> <h2>5. Use Cold Water to Wash Clothes, and Clean the Dryer Lint Trap</h2> <p>Using cold water versus hot water when washing clothes won't save you a ton, but if you're looking to shave a few bucks of your bill every month (and you're okay laundering with cold water), it's a decent solution.</p> <p>&quot;When doing laundry, use cold water instead of hot in your washing machine, which can save you over $3 per month,&quot; Solomon advises. &quot;The dryer typically accounts for 5% of your monthly electric bill, but keeping the lint trap clean on a regular basis will dry clothes faster and lower energy expenditures.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Use Sunlight to Help Control Temperature</h2> <p>Drafts can affect the temperature of your home, especially when the heat is pumping during the winter months. But the amount of sunlight in your home can also dramatically raise or lower the inside temperature, which is important to remember during both the hot and cold seasons.</p> <p>&quot;Use window coverings to keep sunlight from heating your rooms too much in summer and to let in warming rays in the winter,&quot; Solomon recommends. &quot;Window coverings can be expensive, but you can also improvise. You can use blankets, and you can also make your own curtains or buy them at resale shops. I have a friend who sewed bubble wrap between layers of cloth to make really attractive and amazingly efficient drapes.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Lower the Temperature of Your Hot Water Heater</h2> <p>I recommended using cold water instead of hot to wash clothes to save a few bucks a month, but you also should inspect your hot water heater to see if perhaps it's running too hot in general.</p> <p>&quot;If you have to turn on the cold water along with the hot so your shower isn't scalding, you are paying too much to heat your water,&quot; says Eileen Flanagan, author of <a href="http://amzn.to/1Rlmy8l">Renewable: One Woman's Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope</a>. &quot;Most experts recommend 120 Fahrenheit. Once you find a temperature that is comfortable when you turn on just the hot tap, you can leave it set there and forget about it &mdash; except for vacations when you can turn it down further.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Power Your Devices From a Strip &mdash; And Remember to Turn It Off</h2> <p>Rather than plugging devices in single outlets spread all over the house, try to consolidate your energy and charging efforts onto one charging strip so you can control the power usage with one switch.</p> <p>&quot;Smart power plugs can detect how much electricity your 'energy vampires' &mdash; like TVs, game consoles, and mobile phones &mdash; are consuming and can be set to automatically turn off every night and then turn back on every morning,&quot; says Gene Wang, CEO and co-founder of People Power, a tech company in California.</p> <p>As a habit, only plug in other devices and appliances &mdash; like printers, toasters, and coffeemakers &mdash; when you need to use them.</p> <h2>9. Nip Drips in the Bud ASAP</h2> <p>Hopefully we're all shutting off the sink while we're brushing our teeth and taking quick showers to conserve water, but it's all for naught if you have a leak in your pipes or a drippy faucet. If either of these situations are flushing your money down the drain, put a stop to it.</p> <h2>10. Think of Carpet and Rugs as Extra Insulation</h2> <p>Rugs and carpeting can provide extra insulation in your home, which is helpful during the winter months. It's often cheaper to install &mdash; especially area rugs &mdash; than re-insulating your home or turning the heat up. Plus, your little tootsies will thank you for not having to touch a cold floor in the morning.</p> <h2>11. Travel by Foot, Bike, or Public Transportation More Often</h2> <p>You can save a serious amount of money on gas and car maintenance by changing the way you travel, especially locally. Walk, bike, or take public transportation to the places you need to go more often when the weather is nice. Carpooling is a great option, too. I used to carpool with a buddy of mine to work &mdash; we would each have one week on and one week off, which resulted in significant fuel savings (more than $1,000) that I was able to put toward other expenses.</p> <h2>12. Consider Scheduling an Energy Audit</h2> <p>If you're serious about going green, but don't really know where to start, consider scheduling an energy audit to determine what can and needs to be done to reduce your carbon footprint and monthly energy spend.</p> <p>&quot;Most utility companies offer them free or close to free,&quot; says Shel Horowitz, author and green business profitability expert. &quot;Last time we did one, they gave us hundreds of dollars worth of LED light bulbs and picked up two-thirds of the cost of re-insulating.&quot;</p> <p><em>What are some of your green living habits that save you money every month? Let me 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/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">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/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</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/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</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/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</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/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015">4 Green Home Rebates That Save You Big in 2015</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-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money">Do These 10 Green Appliances Actually Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home appliances eco friendly energy efficient going green greywater saving money transportation Wed, 02 Mar 2016 10:30:32 +0000 Mikey Rox 1665770 at http://www.wisebread.com Do These 10 Green Appliances Actually Save You Money? http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-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/woman_refrigerator_000076458411.jpg" alt="Woman learning if green appliances actually save her money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>These days, there's a lot of discussion about energy usage and the environment. And if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, there's a push to use more energy efficient appliances.</p> <p>Most household appliances now come with models that are &quot;Energy Star&quot; certified, meaning that they've met energy efficiency standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. In general, Energy Star appliances may cost a bit more up front, but could save you money over time through reduced electricity and water usage. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-green-products-that-arent">8 Green Products That Aren't</a>)</p> <p>Here's a look at some common appliances and the possible cost savings associated with each one. Keep in mind that savings will vary depending on electricity rates where you live.</p> <h2>1. Refrigerator</h2> <p>Your fridge uses a <em>ton </em>of electricity, so it's logical to think you'd save money by switching to a more energy efficient model. But the actual cost savings is only significant if your current fridge is very old. The EPA has a handy calculator to help consumers determine potential cost savings. If you have an average-sized fridge acquired between 2001 and 2008, your cost savings by switching to an Energy Star certified model are estimated to be about $15 per year, based on the average national electricity rate. But if you're replacing a fridge from the 1980s, the savings jumps to $145 annually. Your savings may be more or less depending on the electricity rates where you live.</p> <h2>2. Freezer</h2> <p>If you have a standalone freezer, you may save a few bucks by switching to an energy efficient model. Most new freezers use about 10% less energy than older freezers, and the savings grows when compared to freezers that are more than 10 years old. Nearly half of the 36 million freezers in use in the U.S are older than 10 years, according to the EPA &mdash; and this is costing Americans $990 million annually.</p> <h2>3. Washing Machine</h2> <p>Another energy hog that uses up not only electricity, but water wobbles in your laundry room or garage. If you get an Energy Star certified model, you'll decrease water usage per load from 25 gallons down to 13. To put that in context, a typical family uses 400 gallons of water every day. New washers also cut down on electricity usage by 25%, resulting in a savings of $180 a year, according to the EPA. You will have a bigger impact on your utility bills by washing in only cold water &mdash; a cold rinse costs about 60% less than a warm one, according to Silicon Valley Power.</p> <h2>4. Dishwashers</h2> <p>The biggest cost savings from energy efficient dishwashers comes if you switch from a model made prior to 1994, according to the EPA. Those older models waste 10 gallons of water per cycle and use more electricity, costing you as much as $35 per year on your utility bills.</p> <h2>5. Dehumidifiers</h2> <p>The EPA says newer models of dehumidifiers are 15% more efficient than older ones. But even if you have the appliance on 10 hours a day for an entire year, you're only going to spend roughly $150. So it's not a level of savings that will impact your wallet all that much.</p> <h2>6. Air Purifiers</h2> <p>These machines that remove fine particles in the air can use more energy than you think. In fact, some suck more electricity than your fridge. But you can save as much as 40%, or 225 kilowatt hours per year. That results in a $25 savings annually, or about $215 over the life of a unit.</p> <h2>7. Hot Water Heaters</h2> <p>Nothing in your home uses more energy, except for lighting. And if you switch to an Energy Star water heater, you could save big bucks. In some states, you may even <em>get </em>cash to buy one. The federal government reports that a family of four will spend about $300 a year on electricity from an Energy Star heat pump water heater. That's less than half of the cost of an old standard electric heat resistance pump, and a projected savings of more than $3,000 over the life of the heater. Seven states offer incentives to buy an energy efficient heater; New Hampshire tops the list with a $1,000 rebate.</p> <h2>8. Televisions</h2> <p>Televisions are growing in size and resolution, but are also getting more energy efficient overall. And that's good, because Energy Star models are reportedly 25% more efficient than older televisions. Your overall savings, however, isn't massive. Even if your audio system and Blu-ray player are Energy Star compliant, your overall saving is about $200 over the life of the equipment.</p> <h2>9. Pool Pumps</h2> <p>Owning a pool doesn't make a lot of financial sense, but you can cut down on the cost by getting an energy efficient pump. Newer pumps are two-speed or variable-speed model, which can reduce the amount of electricity used by as much as 70%. This could translate into $280 to $340 saved annually, according to the government. There may also be rebates, depending on the state where you live.</p> <h2>10. Water Coolers</h2> <p>If you like to have bottled water dispensed from a cooler in your home, you might save a few dollars by getting an energy efficient model. The savings is relatively modest, at roughly $70 over the life of a unit. For the most savings, look for units with on-demand hot and cold capability.</p> <p><em>How efficient are your appliances?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-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-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/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-you-money">4 Ways a Home Energy Audit Will Save You Money</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/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">12 Green Living Habits That&#039;ll Save You Every Month</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/how-much-money-will-you-save-with-energy-star-appliances">How Much Money Will You Save With Energy Star Appliances?</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-slow-cooker-10-eco-and-budget-friendly-household-helpers-that-progress-left-behind">Beyond the Slow Cooker: 10 Eco- and Budget-Friendly Household Helpers That Progress Left Behind</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/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living appliances eco-friendly energy efficient energy star epa Tue, 02 Feb 2016 18:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1646410 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways the 50% Rule Can Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-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/woman_holding_cash_000040930446.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways 50% rule can save her money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The 50% rule is a simple guideline that can help you determine whether it's time to replace an appliance, adjust your budget, and lots more. Here's how it can help you save real money.</p> <h2>1. Appliances</h2> <p>When a household appliance has an issue, it may be difficult to determine whether you should schedule a repair or replace the machine altogether.</p> <p>To easily determine if it's worth keeping, use the 50% rule. If the appliance has used up more than 50% of its useful life and the cost of the repair is more than 50% of the cost of a new appliance, then you should replace it.</p> <p>If you have a warranty on your appliance, find out if any of the repairs are still covered. Most appliance warranties cover labor and parts for one to two years. Some small repairs can also be completed as DIY projects.</p> <p>On the other hand, Consumer Reports recommends that if an item has already <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/02/repair-or-replace/index.htm">broken down once before</a>, it might make sense just to replace it. Keep in mind that if you decide to keep your original appliance, there will be extra costs like additional maintenance and possibly a &quot;trip charge&quot; from the service contractors you hire.</p> <h3>What You'll Need</h3> <p>You can easily compare the costs of repair versus replacement to determine what's a better value. In order to get the most accurate estimate possible, there are several pieces of information you will need:</p> <ul> <li>The appliance's expected useful life: Knowing how long your appliance is expected to last will help you determine if it's worth keeping. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-long-these-6-appliances-should-last?ref=seealso">This Is How Long These 6 Appliances Should Last</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The original purchase price of the appliance.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The average cost to repair your type of appliance: If your service contractor will offer a free estimate, this will help you make a more informed decision.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The cost of a new appliance.</li> </ul> <h3>Benefits of Replacing</h3> <p>You may also want to consider the benefits of replacing the appliance to a newer, more updated version. These benefits could include:</p> <ul> <li>Improved energy efficiency, which may mean lower electricity bills, lower insurance, or tax deductions.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>More features that will improve your life.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Less chance of repairs in the near future.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Real Estate</h2> <p>In real estate, the 50% rule states that operating expenses and vacancy account for about 50% of the rent. This means that if a property rents for $1,000 per month, about $500 will be spent on expenses and vacancies. The remaining 50% would be devoted towards mortgage principal and interest, with the leftovers serving as cash flow.</p> <p>This can serve as a general guideline to help you determine if a particular real estate investment will be worth it in the long run. If you are considering a long term buy and hold, then the 50% rule can help save you money by preventing any purchases that won't pay off.</p> <h2>3. Insurance Claims and Disaster Recovery</h2> <p>After a natural disaster, if the damages do not exceed 50% of the cost of replacing the building, then it will be deemed repairable. The Federal Emergency Management Agency <a href="https://www.fema.gov/pdf/floodplain/nfip_sg_unit_8.pdf">uses a 50% rule</a> to determine if something is considered to have heavy damage or needs substantial improvement. The rule states that if the repair costs are 50% or more of the building's value, then the building must be elevated and brought into compliance.</p> <p>Another application of the 50% rule states that when a building is to be renovated, if the total costs of improvement are 50% or more of the building's value, it will have to be brought into compliance. This is a hidden cost that most don't know about. Being aware of what's to come can help save you time, money, and frustration.</p> <h2>4. Budget</h2> <p>If you've heard of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-better-budget-in-5-minutes-flat">50/20/30 budget</a>, it relies on the 50% rule. It specifies that 50% of your budget should be dedicated to essential expenses (like housing, food, and transportation), 20% to financial obligations (like debt repayment, retirement, and emergency savings), and 30% to personal expenses (like entertainment, dining out, and phone, cable, and Internet expenses). By following this guideline, you can create a workable budget that alerts you when you are spending too much, saving you money over time.</p> <p>Keep in mind that the 50% rule is a <em>guideline</em> and won't always work perfectly. It's best to make adjustments to the numbers so that you can get a better estimate and make a more informed decision.</p> <p><em>Have you ever applied the 50% rule to your life? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-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-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-signs-you-arent-prepared-for-an-emergency">8 Signs You Aren&#039;t Prepared for an Emergency</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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</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-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</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/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you">Here&#039;s How a Spending Ban Can Help (and Hurt) 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/9-things-you-can-do-right-now-for-a-frugal-holiday-season">9 Things You Can Do Right Now for a Frugal Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting 50% rule appliances guidelines insurance real estate saving money Fri, 29 Jan 2016 12:00:04 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1646405 at http://www.wisebread.com This Is How Long These 6 Appliances Should Last http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-long-these-6-appliances-should-last <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-how-long-these-6-appliances-should-last" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000048739104_2.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ain't it the truth that appliances have a funny way of breaking at the worst possible times?</p> <p>Your refrigerator stops running as soon as you fill it with a couple weeks' worth of groceries, or your central air conditioning bites the big one during a heat wave in July. All is not always lost, however. In many cases, the appliance can be fixed. For a couple hundred bucks you might be able to squeeze a few extra years out of it.</p> <p>Alas, nothing lasts forever &ndash; and knowing the life expectancy of home appliances gives you an idea of when you should start saving for a replacement. Let's break down a few of the big ones.&nbsp;</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-appliances-at-any-time-of-year?ref=seealso">How to Save Money on Appliances Any Time of the Year</a></p> <h2>1. Refrigerator</h2> <p>Your refrigerator might be the most expensive appliance in your kitchen. You can spend under $1,000 for a refrigerator on the low end, or up to several thousands of dollars if you get a fancy model with all the bells and whistles.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-fridge-last-almost-forever-with-these-8-tips?ref=seealso">Make Your Fridge Last (Almost) Forever with These 8 Tips</a></p> <p>If you paid a pretty penny for your fridge, naturally you'll want to squeeze as much life out of this appliance as possible. Typically, refrigerators have a lifespan up to 15 years, according to Angie's List, a consumer rating service. Start looking for a replacement if your model is nearing (or already passed) the 15-year mark. This way, you avoid the refrigerator dying unexpectedly. And since refrigerators use a lot of energy, buying a more energy efficient model can save you money over time.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-refrigerators?ref=seealso">Best 5 Refrigerators</a></p> <p>To test the efficiency of your fridge, put <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00875TVYQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00875TVYQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WDXR5PFI7MOVOEYM">a thermometer</a> inside and close the door for about five minutes. If the temperature inside the fridge is higher than 45 degrees after five minutes, the fridge could be on its last leg.</p> <h2>2. Stove/Oven</h2> <p>Don't wait until your stove burners or oven stops working to think about buying a new stove. On average, you can get between 10 and 15 years out of a range/oven. Common problems with this appliance involve igniter failure and problems with the control board or bake element.</p> <h2>3. Dishwasher</h2> <p>If you have running sink water and dish soap, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dishwasher-smells-bad-heres-how-to-fix-it">replacing your dishwasher</a> might not be an urgent need. On the other hand, you probably can't imagine going a day without a dishwasher if you absolutely hate washing dishes by hand. (Like I do; totally makes me gag.)</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-dishwasher-last-almost-forever-with-these-6-tricks?ref=seealso">Make Your Dishwasher Last (Almost) Forever With These 6 Tricks</a></p> <p>To avoid any surprises, expect to replace your dishwasher every eight to 10 years. The good news, however, is that dishwashers are relatively inexpensive. You can find models starting around $400. Start shopping around if you hear loud, banging noise coming from the dishwasher, or if the dishwasher no longer cleans your dishes despite maintenance. Don't discount, though, that you may be able to fix some issues yourself &mdash; like I did when my dishwasher wouldn't spray water &mdash; when I looked up a DIY tutorial on YouTube. Huge time and money saver. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-dishwashers?ref=seealso">Best 5 Dishwashers</a>)</p> <h2>4. Washer and Dryer</h2> <p>With your packed schedule, you don't have time to plan weekly visits to the laundromat. It's time-consuming and inconvenient, and it's a good idea to replace your washer or dryer before it stops working.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-washing-machines?ref=seealso">Best 5 Washing Machines</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-dryers?ref=seealso">5 Best Dryers</a></p> <p>According to Angie's List, both appliances have an average lifespan of eight to 12 years. You can extend the life of your dryer by regularly cleaning your lint trap. Additionally, clean your washer and dryer hoses, heating element, and dryer ducts at least once a year. Properly maintaining your dryer not only extends its life, it also <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdNTcChFkBY">reduces the chance of a dryer fire</a>. This can happen when lint accumulates on the heating element or in the ducts.</p> <h2>5. Hot Water Heater</h2> <p>You should be able to get about seven to 10 years out of a <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/household-appliances-repair-replace-163855148.html">hot water heater</a>. To get the most use, drain about a quarter of water from the tank every three months. This little trick helps remove sediment from the tank, which forms from minerals in the water. Removing sediment allows water in the tank to heat up faster, making the tank more efficient.</p> <h2>6. HVAC System</h2> <p>Your air-conditioning and heating system is responsible for maintaining a comfortable temperature inside your home. It uses a lot of energy and it might work around the clock depending on the season &ndash; so naturally, you shouldn't expect the system to last the lifetime of the home. On average, you should replace an HVAC system every 15 to 20 years. You can extend the lifespan of your system with preventive maintenance. Getting your unit professionally serviced at least once a year helps identify problems early and keeps the unit working at its best.</p> <p>To help reduce some of the cost with maintaining an HVAC system (and other appliances in your home), consider a home warranty. A warranty protects your pocket against unexpected repairs. For a flat service call fee, the warranty company will repair a covered item, or replace it if unable to fix due to normal wear and tear.</p> <p><em>Have you had to replace appliances? Was it unexpected, or did you do it preemptively? How did you handle it? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthis-is-how-long-these-6-appliances-should-last&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThis%20Is%20How%20Long%20These%206%20Appliances%20Should%20Last.jpg&amp;description=This%20Is%20How%20Long%20These%206%20Appliances%20Should%20Last" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/This%20Is%20How%20Long%20These%206%20Appliances%20Should%20Last.jpg" alt="This Is How Long These 6 Appliances Should Last" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-long-these-6-appliances-should-last">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/how-much-money-will-you-save-with-energy-star-appliances">How Much Money Will You Save With Energy Star Appliances?</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/6-smart-ways-to-help-your-appliances-retain-their-value">6 Smart Ways to Help Your Appliances Retain Their Value</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-5-best-refrigerators">The 5 Best Refrigerators</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/make-your-dishwasher-last-almost-forever-with-these-6-tricks">Make Your Dishwasher Last (Almost) Forever With These 6 Tricks</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/save-money-in-5-seconds-or-less-with-these-27-easy-tricks">Save Money in 5 Seconds or Less With These 29 Easy Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living appliances dishwasher home household appliance refrigerator Wed, 14 Oct 2015 21:00:48 +0000 Mikey Rox 1586537 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Home Buys You Should Never Skimp On http://www.wisebread.com/8-home-buys-you-should-never-skimp-on <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-home-buys-you-should-never-skimp-on" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_with_iron_000018734916.jpg" alt="Woman with home good she didn&#039;t skimp on" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are some everyday items I personally <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-you-should-never-skimp-on">never skimp on</a>, like toilet paper, kitchen knives, bed sheets, and small appliances. But what about larger items for the home? These are often even more important, as the difference between the cheap stuff and pricier counterparts can have a profound impact on your quality of life and even your safety. Take a look.</p> <h2>1. Exterior Door Locks</h2> <p>Be honest &mdash; when you read the title of this post, did you immediately think of door locks? Probably not, and neither did I. It wasn't until veteran handyman Marcus L. Horner mentioned exterior locks that I gave them a second thought. Ironic, because a strong door lock is perhaps the most important thing you should never skimp on.</p> <p>&quot;Among the most important things in a home are the front and back doors. You should never skimp on these two items,&quot; Horner says. &quot;You would not believe how many people I see almost on a daily basis who replace doors with the cheapest they can find &mdash; and this is after they have already been broken into!&quot;</p> <p>This is your family's safety and sense of security we're dealing with here, people!</p> <h2>2. Mattresses</h2> <p>I don't think you need the King Midas of mattresses to enjoy a restful, comfortable night's sleep. In fact, the comfort factor of mattresses is really quite relative, depending on each person's preference (I can speak from experience that IKEA and West Elm sell decent mattresses, with the former being very affordable and the latter being perfectly midrange). It goes without saying, however, that the higher in price you go, the plusher and more luxurious the mattress will be. Above all, make sure it comes brand new from a reputable dealer and manufacturer. Because <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-that-youre-sleep-deprived">sleep deprivation</a> is a serious thing.</p> <h2>3. Major Appliances</h2> <p>You'll really have to search hard for off-brand appliances; even the low-priced options come from well-known brand names. But don't let that fool you in this case. Unlike other items, I stand by my position that the price of electronic items directly correlates to their quality with a few exceptions (I'm looking at you, Beats headphones), so it's worth spending the extra money. Besides, this is a long-term investment &mdash; many appliances last 10 years or more before needing to be repaired or replaced &mdash; so if it helps, think about the cost versus the lifetime of the product to soften the financial blow.</p> <p>Financing is usually available as well to reduce the immediate burden. If that doesn't help, think of it this way: Do you really want to keep dragging refrigerators and washing machines in and out of the house every few years because you wanted to save a few bucks? I didn't think so.</p> <h2>4. Fire Extinguishers</h2> <p>Unless you have children, you probably don't spend too much time thinking of worst-case scenarios. But a house fire is definitely a Code WTF emergency, and it's important to be as prepared as possible. One of the components in your disaster preparedness kit should be a fire extinguisher. There are several options from which to choose, according to Consumer Reports, which asks the question: &quot;When the kitchen's on fire, do you want a $7 aerosol can or a real extinguisher?&quot; Spring for the tried-and-true traditional red bottles, which cost about $25 more.</p> <h2>5. Blu-ray Players</h2> <p>Consumer Reports also weighs in on cheap DVD players, particularly Blu-ray players for less than $20. Common sense should warn you that a Blu-ray that cheap is probably too good to be true, with CR warning that you should expect to have to replace it every year. Heck, even pricier Blu-ray players don't last terribly long. I have a Samsung Blu-ray player that's about four years old that will only play standard DVDs now, and it's annoying as all get out.</p> <h2>6. Vacuum Cleaners</h2> <p>According to Consumer Reports magazine's Shop Smart section, a &quot;$50 vacuum cleans like a $50 vacuum.&quot; Considering that well-reviewed vacuums like Dyson and Kirby run in the $400 to $800, you can deduce then that your $50 won't get you much. Personally I have a Shark vacuum that I purchased at Bed Bath &amp; Beyond in the $120 range that works perfectly well for me. I also have a relatively small home. Your home may require a heavier-duty vacuum, and in that case you may want to start looking in the higher-end section. Kind of like buying a new car, actually.</p> <h2>7. Computers</h2> <p>I'm an Apple guy. It's not cheap, but these products of superior quality are well worth the money I shell out &mdash; especially my laptop.</p> <p>Before I switched to Mac, I worked from PCs and Windows laptops. I was just out of college with minimal disposable income, so I jumped at the chance to buy a laptop for $200 from Circuit City. Of course it worked well straight out of the box, but just a few months in the speed slowed down, I had to wait a good couple minutes for everything to boot up and get started, and it was prone to viruses. This scenario is rather common with PCs, and the cheaper you go the more often you'll have to replace it. There's actually a name for this retail practice &mdash; it's called intentional obsolescence, which means that the product is designed to have a limited lifespan, forcing you to replace it sooner than you would a quality product. That's not to say that you should switch to Apple, but my Macs last many years longer than any PC I've ever owned.</p> <h2>8. Irons</h2> <p>There are $20 irons on the market, and there are $90 irons on the market. While I don't think you need a professional-grade iron, I do recommend irons in the $40 to $60 range to ensure that you're getting a quality product.</p> <p>The one problem I seem to consistently find with cheaper irons is that they don't get hot enough to steam out wrinkles efficiently, and often hot water drips out of the iron itself causing a mess on your clothes and ironing board. I've been burned quite badly from faulty irons, actually. Save yourself the blisters and spend a bit more on a decent iron that will do the job it's supposed to do.</p> <p><em>Do you have things to add that we should never skimp on in the home? I'd love to hear your suggestions. Let me 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/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-home-buys-you-should-never-skimp-on">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/the-5-best-electronics-wipes">The 5 Best Electronics Wipes</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/the-5-best-shower-curtains">The 5 Best Shower Curtains</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/9-old-kitchen-tools-you-can-flip-for-cash">9 Old Kitchen Tools You Can Flip for Cash</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-to-clean-your-dishwasher">How to Clean Your Dishwasher</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-kitchen-dish-towels">The 5 Best Kitchen Dish Towels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Shopping appliances cleaning electronics home goods Mon, 11 May 2015 13:00:22 +0000 Mikey Rox 1415532 at http://www.wisebread.com Big Purchases You Should Make by 30, 40, and 50 http://www.wisebread.com/big-purchases-you-should-make-by-30-40-and-50 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/big-purchases-you-should-make-by-30-40-and-50" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_empty_piggybank_000018649757.jpg" alt="Man planning big purchases at 30, 40, and 50" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It used to be that major purchases such as a house or a car were rites of passage into adulthood. Sure, times are changing, and the new generation isn't buying all the things their parents did. But there are some things you probably <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-scariest-big-purchases-people-make">can't avoid buying</a>. Here are the big purchases most of us should make by ages 30, 40, or 50.</p> <h2>By Age 30</h2> <p>By the time we reach 30 we've turned the corner from the youth to adulthood, and our possessions show it.</p> <h3>A Car</h3> <p>As more people choose to live in cities, and use mass transit or ride-sharing apps, it's become less necessary to own a car. That said, many of us still have a lifestyle that requires owning a set of wheels. If this is the case for you, by the age of 30, you probably should have purchased a car <em>by yourself for yoursel</em>f. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-joy-of-buying-a-new-car-9-car-buying-tips?ref=seealso">The Joy of Buying a New Car: 9 Car Buying Tips</a>)</p> <h3>A Real Bed</h3> <p>This is something everyone avoids for years. Millenials have bought and sold cars well before buying a new bed for themselves. Once you are old enough to live on your own, an ugly used frame propping up a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/deep-clean-your-mattress-for-a-better-nights-sleep">decades-old (and filthy) mattress</a> just won't do. A more comfortable bed will help you sleep better, and sleeping better will improve your overall health, which will cost you less in the long run. It's one of the best investments you can make in your 20s. Now that one can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-the-best-mattress-for-the-least-money">buy affordable and comfortable mattresses online</a>, there's no excuse anymore!</p> <h2>By Age 40</h2> <p>What lies around the corner from age 30? A nest and a family of one's own.</p> <h3>A Home</h3> <p>This can be the most emotional purchase you'll ever make, especially in areas of the country where it's virtually impossible for the average person to afford a home. For those of us who want to own our own home, working toward buying before age 40 is a worthy goal. It's wise to start making sound decisions in your 20s and 30s that will keep your financial state healthy, such as building your credit, in anticipation of a home loan.</p> <h3>Home Appliances</h3> <p>Not every home, whether bought or rented, will come equipped with everything you need. As you get older, you'll probably grow tired of washing your dishes in the sink, or going to the laundromat like you did in your 20s. Eventually, you'll break down and buy a refrigerator, dishwasher, a washer/dryer set, or woodworking tools for the garage. Make sure you do your comparison homework in order to get the best appliance deals.</p> <h2>By Age 50</h2> <p>By now the roots are set deep and the big purchases are behind us, but there are a few big buys that mark time's passage.</p> <h3>Life Insurance</h3> <p>As you get older and have children, you'll want to be covered for whatever may happen. By age 50, you'll almost definitely want to consider life insurance &mdash; well before you develop any chronic health issues or are old enough for premiums to skyrocket. Think about what you need from your life insurance and start planning your beneficiaries' financial future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/universal-life-insurance-and-whole-life-insurance-a-comparison?ref=seealso">Universal Life Insurance and Whole Life Insurance: A Comparison</a>)</p> <h3>Contractor Work</h3> <p>At this point in your life, making renovations on your bathroom or kitchen, adding on to your home, or re-landscaping your backyard is common. In fact, some renovations <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-renovations-that-almost-pay-for-themselves">nearly pay for themselves</a> over time. If you've never hired a contractor, you'll need to create a budget and detailed timeline, along with a cash buffer for incidentals, accidents, and hotels if you cannot stay in the home at a certain point. Extra frugal? It's also worth <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you">considering DIY renovations</a>.</p> <p><em>Which major purchases do you think signify life milestones?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-purchases-you-should-make-by-30-40-and-50">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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