maintenance http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9742/all en-US 12 House-Hunting Red Flags You Can't Ignore http://www.wisebread.com/12-house-hunting-red-flags-you-cant-ignore <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-house-hunting-red-flags-you-cant-ignore" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_mortgage_trap_63718741.jpg" alt="Learning house hunting red flags you can&#039;t ignore" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've found the home of your dreams. The price is right, the time is right, and you have the down payment ready to go. But before you get your heart set on the property, you need to be aware of some red flags that could make you change your mind. Here are 12 potential issues that should give you cause for concern.</p> <h2>1. Some Part of the Property Is Off-Limits</h2> <p>When you go to an open house, you expect it to be, well, open. The homeowner wants to sell the property quickly, and creating any kind of hurdle, be it locked doors or bolted sheds, is a warning that something may be wrong. It could be that the person showing the home simply wants to keep some valuables locked away. If you're interested in the home, ask to come back later to see what's behind those closed doors, with an escort. If they still say no, you've got your red flag. And if it remains locked during the inspection, run away. There could be anything waiting for you, including bugs, water damage, faulty electrics, or any number of hazards.</p> <h2>2. The Neighborhood Is a Ghost Town</h2> <p>Depending on when you visit the home, and where the home is, you will see various things happening in the streets &mdash; kids playing, people out mowing the lawns, and a general feeling of regular activity. If the neighborhood is deathly quiet, take a closer look. Why is it so quiet? If you start seeing a lot of &quot;For Sale&quot; signs, and see that some properties are in a state of disrepair, you could well be moving into a place that most people are trying to escape from. Ask around, and talk to neighbors if you can. It may just be it's a very quiet neighborhood. But it could also be a place that is quickly becoming abandoned.</p> <h2>3. Popcorn Ceilings</h2> <p>Used in homes between the late 1950s, through to the late 1980s, popcorn ceilings were a trend that thankfully died out. Aside from being horrendously ugly, and difficult to paint, they could also pose a serious health hazard. Many popcorn ceilings contain white asbestos fibers, and that is nothing you want to mess around with. It takes a professional crew hours to remove it, and the charge can be up to $3 per square foot. Multiply that by all the rooms in the house that have the tacky popcorn ceilings, and you could be looking at thousands of dollars in labor. If you see it, ask the seller if they can have the popcorn texture removed on their dime. Or, ask for a reduction in the house price to deal with the costs of removing it.</p> <h2>4. Strange Smells and Unusual Stains</h2> <p>Where there is a funky smell, there is usually an underlying cause. It could just be some weird cooking that happened the night before, but chances are, it's something ingrained in the home. You may be smelling mildew, mold, or water damage in the floors and ceilings. Get your nose inside areas where smells can be hiding, like closets, cabinets, and the corners of basements and attics. And if you smell nothing but air fresheners in every room, the seller may be trying to cover up an offending odor.</p> <h2>5. Recent Painting and Decorating</h2> <p>To be fair, some homeowners want to freshen the place up before selling it, to get a better price and a quicker sale. But look at the type of redecorating that has happened. If it looks consistent throughout the home, or one room has been completely redone, then that's probably fine. But if you're seeing little patches of new paint and paper, they may be covering something the seller wants to hide. If you see some major construction work has just happened, you must get it inspected thoroughly. If the renovations were done in a hurry, and didn't have permits, they could be dangerous, or even deadly. It's not unusual for load-bearing walls to be removed, to open up a layout, causing serious structural problems.</p> <h2>6. Poor Upkeep and Maintenance</h2> <p>Unless you're buying a brand-new home, you will be living in a house that has been lived in before. We all hope the current owner has done his or her best to keep the property in tiptop condition, but it's not always the case. So, look for signs of a lazy homeowner. Are several doors really tough to open and close? Are some of the light switches and sockets cracked or broken? Do you see wallpaper peeling at the corners, or burned out bulbs that haven't been replaced? All of these can signal a homeowner who didn't maintain the property, and could signal bigger issues that you will only find after moving in.</p> <h2>7. Faulty Wiring</h2> <p>It's not as easy to spot as a couple of dangerous loose wires sticking out of the wall; faulty wiring can be lurking behind switches and faceplates. When going through the home, check all of the switches, even on the garbage disposal. If there are issues, like flickering lights, circuits that buzz and hum, excessive heat, or just switches that do not work, it could be a sign of larger electrical issues. Old wiring that has to be brought up to code can be costly, and should be a burden on the seller, not you.</p> <h2>8. Signs of Pests</h2> <p>As you walk through the property, look for telltale signs of bugs and rodents. Are there mouse traps hiding in the corners of the garage? Do you see shelves full of pest control products? What about droppings? Do you see a lot of dead bugs on the window ledges and in the basement and attic? Any of these signs, and many more, can be an indication of a pest problem that could be costly. If it's termites&hellip;very costly.</p> <h2>9. Old Heating and Cooling Systems</h2> <p>When the house was built should help you figure out if the heating and cooling systems should have been replaced by now. In some cases, they should have been replaced multiple times. The average life span of a furnace and air conditioner is 13&ndash;20 years, depending on the make and model. If you're looking at a home that was built in the 1980s, those systems should have been replaced twice. So, take a close look at the age of the units, or ask the seller to tell you how old those items are. To replace them both can cost many thousands of dollars. Also, ask for them to be turned on. If you notice strange sounds, they may be in need of repair or full on replacement.</p> <h2>10. Heaving Closets and Storage Spaces</h2> <p>One of the big complaints many homeowners have is storage space, or the lack of it. If the home doesn't have a basement or attic, you should definitely check out the state of the cupboards, and the garage. Can they even get a car into the garage? If it's full of their things, chances are, you are going to have storage issues, too. If the cupboards are threatening to pour the contents all over you when you open the door, that's another big red flag. Of course, they may be hoarders, but if you see that it's just regular items that are jammed into every available corner, you have a storage problem on your hands.</p> <h2>11. Rugs and Wall Coverings Everywhere</h2> <p>Homeowners can get pretty creative when it comes to hiding stains, holes, and damage. If you notice area rugs in every room, lift them up. It could be that the rugs are disguising unsightly carpet stains, or damaged floor coverings. If you see walls covered in posters, frames, hangings, and even drapes, look behind them, too. They may be hiding a whole host of problems, including wet rot or dry rot.</p> <h2>12. Cracks</h2> <p>Most homes develop a few hairline cracks over the years, as the house settles on the foundation. But cracks in the walls and floors that are greater than a third of an inch wide are a cause for concern. It's highly possible the house has serious structural problems, and you may have to foot the bill for some very costly repairs and foundation work.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-house-hunting-red-flags-you-cant-ignore">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/youre-ready-to-make-an-offer-on-a-house-now-what">You&#039;re Ready to Make an Offer on a House: Now What?</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-to-evaluate-a-neighborhood-before-you-buy">How to Evaluate a Neighborhood Before You Buy</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/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you">Thinking of Skipping the Home Inspection? Here&#039;s What It Will Cost You</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/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs">Watch Out for These 5 Last Minute Home Buying Costs</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/everybodys-wrong-about-how-much-house-you-can-afford">Everybody&#039;s Wrong About How Much House You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing buying a house damages decorating dishonesty house hunting maintenance neighborhoods red flags repairs warning signs Wed, 14 Sep 2016 09:30:27 +0000 Paul Michael 1792245 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_money_moves_63337017.jpg" alt="Couple asking questions before signing a lease" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you've been searching for a place to live. You've looked at a bunch of different homes and apartments, driven all over town, and have finally decided on the one you want. It's perfect. But before you whip out the pen and commit to something, ask the following 10 questions. They could prevent you from making a very costly &mdash; and time-consuming &mdash; mistake.</p> <h2>1. Which Utilities Are My Responsibility?</h2> <p>Depending on where you live (and how generous the landlord is), utility responsibility may vary. If you're living in a large apartment complex, you may find that a lot of utilities are covered by your rent. In other cases, it may only be water and sewage, or in the worst case scenario&hellip;nothing at all. So make sure you know exactly which utilities are going to be your responsibility, <em>and </em>see if you can get a history of the bills at that address. Some homes are more energy efficient than others, and some homes have additional costs you may not consider (such as fees for constructing new pipelines). When you get the complete picture, you may discover that the utility bills put a unit beyond your reach.</p> <h2>2. How and When Do I Pay My Rent?</h2> <p>You already know what the rent costs, but you also need to know how and when to pay it. These days, many larger apartment leasing companies will take payments online, or through an automated debit system. Private landlords will most likely take a check or banker's draft, and may want you to mail it, or hand it over in person. There may also be fees for paying online or by check, so ask about that. And of course, ask about late fees and grace periods. You may get up to five days to pay your rent without incurring a penalty.</p> <h2>3. Do I Have to Have Renters Insurance?</h2> <p>Any kind of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance?ref=internal">renters insurance</a> is good to have, even if it covers the bare minimum. But times are tough, and you may not have the money to afford it right now. Your landlord or leasing agency may not care. Or, they may have a very strict renters insurance policy, which could once again put you over your monthly budget and make the apartment off limits. If you are required to have it, shop around and get multiple quotes. Use these quotes as bargaining chips with each insurance company to get the best possible rate that covers more of your possessions.</p> <h2>4. What Is Your Guest Policy?</h2> <p>In this day and age, the vast majority of landlords are not going to care if you have guests for long visits. But, it never hurts to check the rules of the apartment complex or landlord. Even then, it's a very tricky rule to enforce, so it's doubtful anything will happen. The problems usually come with guests staying for an extended period of time. If your best friend suddenly becomes homeless and asks to stay in your spare room for a few months, that could have ramifications. And if you decide to move your partner in to live there permanently, you will have to consult the landlord. It's possible a background check will be needed.</p> <h2>5. Can I Make Improvements?</h2> <p>When you move into a new place, you want it to feel like home. That often means personalizing it with paint, wallpaper, new curtains, maybe even new carpet or tile. This should all be openly discussed with the landlord before you ever sign the lease, and put in writing. It's quite possible that any improvements you want to make (even a simple coat of paint), will have to be approved first. Even if you think you're making the place even better (adding a wooden floor for instance), the landlord has every right to take your security deposit when you move out.</p> <h2>6. How Long Is the Lease?</h2> <p>It may seem like an obvious question, but not all leases are created equal. Some landlords may be renting their home out for the summer, and want a tenant for six months or less. Some apartment complexes offer discounts for longer leases. Some leases are month-to-month. You need to know this up front, and also, what kind of fees you will pay to break that lease. It's possible you'll be asked to pay two months' rent to get out of it, and may also lose your security deposit. Other places may be much more relaxed, especially if you find someone to take over the lease.</p> <h2>7. How Much Is the Security Deposit and Do I Get All of It Back?</h2> <p>The typical amount for a security deposit is one month's rent, but it can vary from place to place. Some may only want a nominal fee &mdash; say $300. Now, by law, any kind of security deposit is refundable, that's why it's called a security deposit; you put the money down as insurance for the landlord, you get it back if all is well. However, different landlords have different thresholds for wear and tear, and it's possible you won't get the whole amount back, especially if you have pets.</p> <h2>8. How Will the Apartment Be Prepared and How Should I Leave It?</h2> <p>These are two different questions, but both relate to the cleanliness and appearance of the apartment. Before you move in, you need to know if the entire place will be cleaned and repaired. You may well be viewing the place before any of this has happened, and may be in for a shock if you move in and the carpets are stained and the lighting is broken. So, get in writing how the home should be delivered and returned. Also, when you move out, you may have to pay for some of those very services that make the home ready for the next tenants. So, ask if you have to have the carpets shampooed, or the place professionally cleaned. If you do, and don't do it, this fee can come out of your security deposit.</p> <h2>9. What's the Pet Policy?</h2> <p>Landlords don't like pets, often for good reason. They sometimes leave a smell, they can tear things, they're noisy at times, and they can leave nasty surprises on the carpet. For this reason, most places will have some kind of pet policy in place. It may be as simple as &quot;Yes, pets are fine, but don't let your dog bark all the time.&quot; Other places could impose a nonrefundable fee for the term of the lease to cover additional cleaning, or impose a monthly fee, known as pet rent. Even if you don't have a pet now, ask about it. You don't want to have to move out later because you want to get a dog or a cat.</p> <h2>10. How Do You Deal With Maintenance and Emergencies?</h2> <p>Again, this will vary depending on the kind of place you're looking at. Big apartment complexes usually have a maintenance staff on site, and a simple call to the front desk can be all it takes to get an issue resolved. If you're renting a home from a private landlord, you'll want to know up front what kind of response you will get, and how soon. If it's just a guy renting his house out, and your fence blows down, will it take weeks for the repair to happen? Can you call someone to make repairs, and remove the cost of service from your rent? Do all repairs have to go through the landlord, and are there preferred providers? All this should be asked up front.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been burned by the hidden terms of a lease?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease">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/7-smart-ways-to-get-your-apartment-deposit-back">7 Smart Ways to Get Your Apartment Deposit Back</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-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</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/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-best-tools-for-finding-an-apartment-on-the-cheap">10 Best Tools for Finding an Apartment on the Cheap</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-3-best-cities-with-rent-control">The 3 Best Cities With Rent Control</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments breaking a lease insurance maintenance pets policies renters agreement renting security deposits signing a lease utilities Wed, 31 Aug 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Paul Michael 1782899 at http://www.wisebread.com Buying a Rental Car? Here's What You Need to Know http://www.wisebread.com/buying-a-rental-car-heres-what-you-need-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/buying-a-rental-car-heres-what-you-need-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_driving_96645249.jpg" alt="Woman learning what she needs to know about buying rental cars" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone loves the convenience of a rental car, especially when on vacation. However, tell someone you're thinking of buying one, and you'll likely see a look of confusion &mdash; or worse, disdain. Rental cars are driven hard and often not worth the risk. At least that's what people will tell you, but in reality, rental cars are a very prudent buys&hellip;if you know what you're getting into. Consider the pros and cons of purchasing a former rental car:</p> <h2>The Pros of Buying a Rental Car</h2> <p>Here's why you might consider buying a rental.</p> <h3>The Car Was Well Maintained</h3> <p>Rental cars are serviced regularly; above and beyond the schedule of a typical car that has been bought or leased. The larger rental companies, such as Hertz and Avis, often employ an army of mechanics to keep the cars in excellent working order. After all, it's a major hassle to deal with a car that has issues <em>after</em> a customer has driven it off the lot. And this means&hellip;no lemons. The chance of a lemon car making it through several years of constant rental is almost zero.</p> <h3>The Car Will Be Priced to Sell</h3> <p>Those ads that say &quot;great car, one careful previous owner&quot; obviously do not apply to rental cars. There have been dozens, if not hundreds, of drivers behind the wheel of the car. The rental company or dealership selling the car knows this. They have to tell you it was a rental car, and they know the reaction will be &quot;Oh&hellip;that means it has been driven by so many people.&quot; Their defense is always &quot;That's why we're giving it to you way below book.&quot; And even then, you have a great way to negotiate price. You know it's a car that has had many drivers, and that stands you in good stead. Ask for extras, a free extended warranty, or whatever else you want to sweeten the deal.</p> <h3>The Car Will Look Good Inside and Out</h3> <p>Rental companies and dealerships know the value of the walk around, and therefore, a bunch of dings, scrapes, and a set of bald tires will not help them move the vehicle off the lot. The company will make sure the imperfections and cosmetic issues are dealt with. Cars of a similar age being sold by a private seller will have more dings, scratches, and cosmetic flaws than an ex-rental car. The paint job will look good, the interior will be clean and smell fresh, and things like mats and carpets will be professionally cleaned, or even replaced.</p> <h3>The Car Won't Be That Old</h3> <p>Rental companies don't like having old models on the lot. People want to rent a new, reliable car, not some old junker. For that reason, the cars are swapped out regularly, and the older models are put up for sale. Often, you can get a great deal on a car that's only one or two years old, because the rental company wanted the newer model on the lot. Young cars are usually still in their typical three year/36,000 miles warranty, which will transfer to you (and some manufacturers go way beyond that). You may even find that the mileage is surprisingly low (although that's certainly not guaranteed).</p> <h3>The Car Was Originally Bought at a Discount</h3> <p>Rental companies don't buy a few cars here and there. They buy in bulk from the major manufacturers, and that means huge price breaks. These savings can then be passed on to you when it's time to sell the car. It's simple math. Their original cost of the car was lower than average, and therefore, the price you pay will be lower. They can afford to heavily discount the book price to move the car quickly without losing any profit.</p> <h3>The Car You Want Is Easy to Find</h3> <p>Whatever ex-rental model you're looking for, chances are you'll find it quickly. The big players like <a href="http://www.hertzcarsales.com">Hertz</a>, <a href="https://www.aviscarsales.com/">Avis</a>, and <a href="http://www.enterprisecarsales.com/">Enterprise</a> have websites stocked with a massive inventory of former rental cars. Not only will you find it easy to find the make and model you're looking for, but probably even the color and options you prefer.</p> <h2>The Cons of Buying a Rental Car</h2> <p>So&hellip; you know the ups, but what about the downs? While buying a rental car is a prudent, frugal move, you have to be careful of the following issues.</p> <h3>The Car Has Been Driven Hard</h3> <p>Rental cars have had a lot of different drivers behind the wheel, and that means a lot of different driving styles. Guaranteed, they were not all excellent drivers who were easy on the brakes and treated the gearbox with respect. The number of different driving styles, including people who hammered the brakes, the shifter, and the clutch on manual cars, can take its toll and cause excessive wear and tear on the mechanical parts of the car. These issues may not show up when you buy it, but after a few months you could find parts failing due to the strain of these juxtaposing driving types.</p> <h3>The Car Was Not Loved</h3> <p>Rental cars are not owned in the same way as a lease or purchase. When someone buys a car, it's a lot of money, and it's an emotional purchase. Everything has to be right. When you get a rental car, you really don't care about it. As long as it's the right size, and runs well, you are fine. You'll be returning it in a few days anyway. So, things get spilled. Dings and dents happen more easily. Scrapes are common. While many of these will be caught, and repaired, before the car is sold, the detailing team may not be able to fix everything. Or, there may be a lot of unoriginal parts inside and outside the car.</p> <h3>The Car Probably Has High Mileage for Its Age</h3> <p>Some rental companies swap out cars for new models so often, the cars don't get a chance to be driven over the expected mileage. However, for many rental cars, the mileage goes way over the average, for obvious reasons. A car sitting in the lot is no good to a rental agency, so they do everything they can to make sure every car is used as often as possible. This means discounts, special offers, and coupons to bring in customers. The cars are often rented by people on vacation, and that means a lot of driving, sightseeing, and additional mileage. But, the good news is that cars are so well engineered these days, the additional mileage is not the problem it was 30 or 40 years ago.</p> <h3>The Car Is Being Bought &quot;As Is&quot;</h3> <p>No equipment upgrades. No extras. No frills. Everything you see is what you get, and if you want anything extra (from a roof rack to a tow bar) then you have to pay for it yourself after you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-used-car-without-getting-ripped-off" target="_blank">buy the car</a>. This is, of course, standard practice on any used car you buy, so it's not a specific drawback to buying a rental car. But still, just remember that when you shop for a used car, it already has the options (or not) that you'll be getting. No more, no less.</p> <h3>The Car May Have Been in an Accident</h3> <p>If the car is in a fender bender, or something more serious, it could all be taken care of outside of the insurance companies and reporting agencies. It can be cost prohibitive for the rental agency to file an insurance claim on smaller accidents, especially if they have a full fleet of expert mechanics ready to repair the damage. This means the accident may not show up on a Carfax report. So, be careful, and get an independent mechanic to check it out.</p> <p><em>Have you purchased a rental car? Would you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-a-rental-car-heres-what-you-need-to-know">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/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage</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/3-reasons-why-you-should-never-buy-a-new-car">3 Reasons Why You Should Never Buy a New Car</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-buy-a-used-car-without-getting-ripped-off">How to Buy a Used Car Without Getting Ripped Off</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/6-cars-you-can-drive-almost-forever">6 Cars You Can Drive (Almost) Forever</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-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation carfax high mileage maintenance mileage pros and cons rental cars saving money used cars vehicles Mon, 11 Jul 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1746126 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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-your-dishwasher">How to Clean Your Dishwasher</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 5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Second Home in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-buying-a-second-home-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-questions-to-ask-before-buying-a-second-home-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_house_retirement_21246021.jpg" alt="Couple asking questions before buying second retirement home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's nice image: You, your children, and your grandchildren gathering every summer at the lake house you bought after you retired from the workforce. Or maybe you instead picture these same children bringing their grandchildren for long weekends at the downtown city condo you purchased immediately after heading into retirement.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-retire-rich" target="_blank">Buying a second home after retirement</a> can be a reward for years of hard work. It might also be a good investment if you buy the right property; real estate, after all, has historically increased in value.</p> <p>But buying a second home in your retirement years can also be a financial misstep. These potential pitfalls are why you need to ask five key questions before you invest in that second home after you retire.</p> <h2>1. How Will You Pay for It?</h2> <p>Buying a second home is fairly simple if you plan to use cash from your savings. You still have to be careful, though, to make sure that such a big expenditure won't eventually make it more of a struggle to meet your other retirement goals. It might not be easy to take that long-awaited cruise if you've spent too much of your savings on a second home.</p> <p>If you need to finance the purchase of a second home with a mortgage, you might face an even bigger challenge. Under federal law, lenders can't reject you for a mortgage loan because of your age. They can, though, reject your application if they think you don't have enough income to afford your monthly mortgage payments.</p> <p>Lenders rely partly on your debt-to-income ratio when making mortgage decisions. Lenders want your total monthly debts, including your new mortgage payment, to equal no more than 43% of your gross monthly income. Income, of course, isn't just money you receive from a salary. You can also count Social Security payments, pension payments, monthly rent checks, money from legal settlements, and any other recurring source of monthly income. But if your income is so low that your debt-to-income ratio sails over that 43% mark, you'll struggle to get the mortgage you need to buy a second home.</p> <h2>2. Can You Afford It?</h2> <p>This, of course, is the big question: Even if you can buy a second home, can you afford the monthly expenses that go with it now that you can no longer rely on your regular paycheck?</p> <p>If you are financing the second home with a mortgage, can you afford to add those monthly payments to your existing expenses? And even if you are not taking out a mortgage, you'll have to face the normal expenses associated with owning a home: Furnaces go out, water heaters leak, and utility bills add up. If you buy a condo as a second home, are you okay with paying association dues each month?</p> <p>In short, can you afford the financial burden of owning that second home?</p> <h2>3. Who Will Maintain It?</h2> <p>Homes require regular maintenance. Someone has to mow the lawn, shovel the walks, sweep the floors, and replace fading paint jobs. Is this something you are willing to do, even as you get older? You might think your children will be happy to spend a few hours pulling weeds and mowing the lawn. But are they really okay with that?</p> <p>You might need to hire a service to handle the regular maintenance of your second home. That will ease your burden. But these companies don't come cheap. Can you afford the additional expense of hiring someone to maintain your second home?</p> <h2>4. How Often Will You Use It?</h2> <p>You might dream of spending months at your vacation home surrounded by visiting family members. But that dream might not be realistic. Your children and grandchildren have lives of their own. They might visit far less than you expect.</p> <p>And what about you? You might think now that you'd like to spend every summer at the lake house in that quaint, touristy town. But after three or four summers, you might get tired of that restaurant you've eaten at every visit or you might no longer have the appetite for all those fudge shops and antique stores. Yes, you might get bored with your second home, too.</p> <p>Instead of vacationing in the same spot, you might instead want to travel to new places each year. If so, a permanent second home might not be the best choice.</p> <h2>5. What Happens After You Die?</h2> <p>We don't like to think about dying. But when you buy a second home in your retirement, you need to consider it. What will happen to that second home after you pass on?</p> <p>You might want to leave it to one of your children. You'll have to decide, though, who gets it, without causing strife among them. What if none of your children want the home? They'll then have to go through the hassle of selling the property after you die. You'll need to determine before your death, just how the proceeds of that sale &mdash; if there are proceeds &mdash; will be divvied up.</p> <p><em>Have you considered buying a second home?</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/5-questions-to-ask-before-buying-a-second-home-in-retirement">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/is-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement">Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement?</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/frayed-relationships-damaged-credit-and-costly-additions-what-a-multi-generational-home-might-cost-y">Frayed Relationships, Damaged Credit, and Costly Additions — What a Multi-Generational Home Might Cost You</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/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</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/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs">Watch Out for These 5 Last Minute Home Buying Costs</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/12-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-retire">12 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Retirement condos family maintenance mortgages second homes vacation homes Fri, 24 Jun 2016 09:00:03 +0000 Dan Rafter 1737542 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/women_road_trip_21640056.jpg" alt="Women finding smart ways to boost gas mileage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is just around the corner, and if you're one of the lucky ones, you'll be hittin' the road before you know it. Cut a bit of the cost from your road trip(s) by saving on gas with these fuel-efficient tips and tricks.</p> <h2>1. Switch to a More Fuel-Efficient Vehicle</h2> <p>It seems like an obvious solution, and it's certainly easier said than done to upgrade your vehicle to a more fuel-efficient model like a fully electric car or hybrid. But if it's time for a new whip, or you want to invest in a ride that will you save you dough in the long term, it's the only way to go. If nothing else, it's at least worth a trip to the dealership to see what it has to offer and <a href="http://www.afdc.energy.gov/calc/">then crunch the numbers</a>.</p> <h2>2. Lighten Your Load Before Long Hauls</h2> <p>Over-packing your car for a road trip &mdash; or, the more likely scenario, hauling around a bunch of junk on a regular basis for no reason at all &mdash; weighs down your vehicle, and that requires it work harder for all that get up-and-go, thus consuming more gas.</p> <p>&quot;Do you go to the garden center, buy several bags of topsoil, then forget to unload your car for a week?&quot; asks auto expert Richard Reina. &quot;Perhaps you have a trunk full of tools, sports equipment, or project supplies which don't need to be there. Think about this: Automotive engineers sweat the details to remove ounces of weight to improve a vehicle's EPA mileage rating. Imagine what happens if you remove several pounds. Make it a habit to only carry what needs to be in the car.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated</h2> <p>Tires low on air don't roll easily, requiring more engine power (and more fuel) to make them rotate &mdash; but tire pressure is one of the easiest checks to perform.</p> <p>&quot;Buy an inexpensive pressure gauge, keep it in your glove box, and make a habit of checking the tires at fill-ups,&quot; Reina says. &quot;Be strict about using the numbers on the vehicle's tire pressure label, usually found in the driver's door jamb. Most vehicles have the same pressure rating for all four tires; but pay attention if your label requires different pressures front and rear.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Avoid Stop-and-Go Traffic</h2> <p>You'll save on gas if you keep your car moving at a steady pace opposed to braking often in traffic. If your morning and afternoon commutes are usually sluggish, try another route. Another reason your vehicle will consume more fuel in stop-and-go traffic is because it'll run longer than if you traveled from A to B quicker. If you have the option, test out different departing times &mdash; maybe leave home/work a little earlier or later, depending on what your schedule (and boss) allows &mdash; to avoid gridlock.</p> <h2>5. Take Your Foot Off the Pedal and Coast for a While</h2> <p>Instead of driving to the absolute last second when you need to stop, take your foot off the pedal well before the light to allow your car to coast to a stop. Make this a habit and you'll start seeing the difference in how often you have to refuel.</p> <h2>6. Turn on Cruise Control to Keep an Even Speed</h2> <p>Personally, I love cruise control. Not so much for the gas-saving factor, but because my feet get tired of always being on the pedal when I'm on long drives &mdash; though the former is as good a reason as any to use it when you hop on the highway.</p> <p>&quot;The best thing you can do to increase your gas mileage is to travel where you can keep an even speed,&quot; say savings expert Paul Moyer. &quot;Most vehicles get the best mileage somewhere between 45 and 55 miles per hour. If you can maintain that speed for long periods of time, you will greatly reduce your gas usage.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Plan Your Errands About Town Efficiently</h2> <p>I'm notoriously forgetful in the morning. I run back in the house at least twice every day to get something I forgot before heading to work. But, I'm much more put together when I'm running weekend errands. I plan out my stops so I can get to one end of town and back without having to cut across roads, make any unnecessary turns, or do the back-and-forth routine. I head north and hit everything on one side of the road, then south to get the rest on the way back. Granted, your errands may not be mapped out so neatly, but there are probably ways you can make your about-town travels more efficient if you tried.</p> <h2>8. Don't Let Your Car Idle if You're Not in It</h2> <p>Even when your car is sitting idle &mdash; like when you're heating it up in the morning when it's cold out &mdash; it's still using gas. If this is your daily practice in the winter, wean yourself off of it. As an alternative, bundle up and let the car heat up gradually as you drive. I know, it's not as cozy-comfortable as getting into a toasty-hot car that's had 20 minutes to sit, but at least your wallet won't feel the burn at the pump. Plus, you'll greatly reduce the chances that your car will get stolen from your own driveway. Do you really want to tell your local law enforcement that embarrassing tale?</p> <h2>9. Take Advantage of the Weather to Heat/Cool the Car Naturally</h2> <p>When it's cold out, park your car in the sun. Vice versa, when it's hot as the dickens, park in the shade. By consciously regulating the temperature inside the car naturally, you may be able to cut down on the times you want to crank up the heat or the A/C&hellip; although the latter isn't as bad as you think it is.</p> <h2>10. Keep the Windows Up When Driving</h2> <p>As I just mentioned, using the A/C isn't the gas-guzzler you might expect it to be. No need to feel wasteful if you require more climate control than Mother Nature is providing.</p> <p>&quot;This tip may run counter to what you were taught: 'Avoid using the A/C unless necessary, because it uses gas!' While this was true 25 years ago, modern electronics have overridden this concern,&quot; Reina says. &quot;Computer controls run the A/C only when needed while still keeping you cool. Automotive aerodynamics have improved so much that driving with windows down actually creates drag. The net effect is that a vehicle gets better mileage if the windows stay up, and the A/C's effect on fuel economy is nil.&quot;</p> <h2>11. Maintain Your Vehicle Regularly to Keep the Engine Running Clean</h2> <p>Of course, the best way to ensure that your car is running clean is to get regular maintenance. Nobody likes to have their car worked on (because what are they going to find wrong with it <em>this time</em>, right?), but if you stay on top of your car's needs, like clean air filters, you'll cut down on costs across the board (not just gas) over the lifetime of the vehicle &mdash; and that's just money in the bank.</p> <h2>Bonus Tip</h2> <p>You can also save on gas purchases and earn cash back when you fill up if you pay with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=travel">gas rewards credit card</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>What are some things you do to boost your gas mileage? I'd love to hear your travel tactics in the comments below.</em>&nbsp;</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/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">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/buying-a-rental-car-heres-what-you-need-to-know">Buying a Rental Car? Here&#039;s What You Need to Know</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-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-still-smart-to-buy-an-electric-car-while-gas-prices-are-low">Is It Still Smart to Buy an Electric Car While Gas Prices Are Low?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-it-cost-every-time-you-get-into-your-car">How Much Does it Cost Every Time you Get Into Your Car?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-acetone-dramatically-increase-your-gas-mileage">Can Acetone Dramatically Increase Your Gas Mileage?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation commuting driving efficiency fuels costs gas mileage maintenance road trips vehicles Mon, 13 Jun 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1728673 at http://www.wisebread.com Is It Still Smart to Buy an Electric Car While Gas Prices Are Low? http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-still-smart-to-buy-an-electric-car-while-gas-prices-are-low <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-it-still-smart-to-buy-an-electric-car-while-gas-prices-are-low" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_63756853_SMALL.jpg" alt="Buying an electric car while gas prices are low" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With no end in sight for low gas prices, electric and hybrid cars face a harder value proposition. It can take a decade or more for some <a href="https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/hybridCompare.jsp">hybrids to pay for their higher price</a> tag through fuel savings, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. (I'm looking at you, Toyota Highlander.)</p> <p>So should you bother considering an electric or hybrid vehicle when car shopping? Of course, they are always going to be the better choice for the earth, but not all of us are noble enough (or wealthy enough) to pay more to do the right thing. Here are some alternative car advantages that still might turn your head in the era of cheap gas.</p> <h2>Cost Per Mile Is Still Lower</h2> <p>There are a few hybrids on the market whose fuel savings will still pay for the premium in three years or less &mdash; such as the 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid, which sells for $1,500 more than the regular Avalon and gets 40 miles to the gallon (compared to the standard version's 26). FuelEconomy.gov estimates that a hybrid Avalon would save you $575 on gas per year at a price of $2.30 per gallon, paying back the difference in two and a half years.</p> <p>Plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars save even more at the pump, and even though you have to pay for the electricity to fuel them, it usually amounts to much less. Bonus if you can plug in your car at work and slurp up free juice all day.</p> <h2>Tax Incentives and Rebates</h2> <p>The federal <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-drive-a-hybrid-or-electric-car-on-the-cheap">tax credit of up to $7,500</a> for new plug-in cars is still available, and various states will kick in as well. For instance, California's <a href="https://cleanvehiclerebate.org/eng/eligible-vehicles">Clean Vehicle Rebate Project</a> pays you up to $6,500 to buy a new zero-emission or plug-in car. A 2016 Kia Soul electric vehicle, which sells for about $30,000, qualifies for a $7,500 tax credit and a $2,500 California rebate, making its effective price only $20,000 &mdash; not much more than a standard Kia Soul sells for.</p> <p>Check with your electric utility about rebates they may offer to offset the cost of charging your vehicle, too. You may also be able to get an incentive to help pay for the cost of installing a charger for an EV or plug-in hybrid, which can <a href="http://www.plugincars.com/quick-guide-buying-your-first-home-ev-charger-126875.html">cost $600&ndash;$700 for the charger</a>, plus more for installation.</p> <h2>Perks</h2> <p>With congested freeways in the LA and Bay Areas, many Californians have purchased plug-in cars mainly for the privilege of driving in the carpool lane even when they drive alone. In addition to California, a number of other states, including Arizona, Florida, and New York, are letting alternative fuel vehicles drive in the <a href="http://www.ncsl.org/research/energy/state-electric-vehicle-incentives-state-chart.aspx">high-occupancy vehicle lane</a> no matter how many people are in the car. But read the fine print of your state's program before purchasing to make sure your vehicle choice is eligible and that there are still stickers available; California has already maxed out the available exemptions for some vehicle categories.</p> <p>Other perks that states and municipalities are offering include inspection exemptions, free parking at meters, and registration discounts.</p> <h2>Less Maintenance</h2> <p><a href="http://www.pluginamerica.org/why-plug-vehicles">Plug In America</a>, a nonprofit electric car advocate, puts it this way: &quot;There's no engine, transmission, spark plugs, valves, fuel tank, tailpipe, distributor, starter, clutch, muffler, or catalytic converter (in an electric vehicle). So you can expect significantly lower maintenance costs.&quot;</p> <p>EVs don't require oil changes, and of course, you never have to stand at a gas pump in the rain, breathing fumes and hoping you don't spill gasoline on your clothes.</p> <h2>Pleasant to Drive</h2> <p>The silent operation of EVs and hybrids in electric mode make listening to music or an audiobook on the road a dream. Many drivers also enjoy the peppy pickup of an electric engine.</p> <h2>Drawbacks</h2> <p>Let's be honest, though: If owning an electric vehicle or hybrid were perfect, everyone would already own one. For all-electric vehicles, the biggest drawback still holding buyers back is range. Most EVs top out at around 100 miles before needing to charge. A full charge takes at least four hours with the fastest chargers, meaning that most people use them mainly for commuting, and keep a gas-powered car for weekend getaways.</p> <p>Hybrids don't have the range issue, but they do share another worry with EVs: battery replacement. A hybrid battery can <a href="http://www.autotrader.com/car-tech/hybrid-cars-hidden-drawbacks-209417">cost $2,500 or more</a>, and may need to be replaced at the 90,000 to 150,000-mile mark. With that in mind, it's kind of like the premium you pay for a hybrid vehicle is a recurring charge, not a one-time thing. Some carmakers are offering long battery warranties to assuage that worry. Even without a battery warranty, you should take the lower overall maintenance costs of an EV into account when calculating whether an eventual battery replacement makes the car too expensive in the long run.</p> <p><em>Have you considered an electric automobile? What factors swayed your decision?</em></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/is-it-still-smart-to-buy-an-electric-car-while-gas-prices-are-low">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/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage</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-ways-to-drive-a-hybrid-or-electric-car-on-the-cheap">6 Ways to Drive a Hybrid or Electric Car on the Cheap</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/7-money-mistakes-everyone-makes-when-buying-their-first-car">7 Money Mistakes Everyone Makes When Buying Their First Car</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/what-to-know-when-renting-a-moving-truck">What to Know When Renting a Moving Truck</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/buying-a-rental-car-heres-what-you-need-to-know">Buying a Rental Car? Here&#039;s What You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation cost per mile driving electric cars environmental fuel economy gas price hybrids maintenance Thu, 09 Jun 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1723184 at http://www.wisebread.com 21 Times Spending More Will Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/21-times-spending-more-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="/21-times-spending-more-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/man_dressed_up_000082458281.jpg" alt="Man spending more money and saving money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even though I usually focus on spending less money in order to save money, sometimes spending <em>more </em>will actually help you save. Here are 21 times when dishing out a few extra bucks can help you be frugal in the long-run.</p> <h2>Spending to Reduce Everyday Expenses</h2> <p>There are lots of inexpensive items you can buy that will quickly pay for themselves and save you more money down the road.</p> <h3>1. Hair Trimmer</h3> <p>Buy a <a href="http://amzn.to/1WXRg9I">hair trimmer kit</a> for about $20 and get free haircuts at home. I haven't paid for a haircut since 2008!</p> <h3>2. Coffee Maker</h3> <p>Buy your own coffee making equipment for under $100 and save hundreds by making your brew at home instead of getting it at the coffee shop. I bought a <a href="http://amzn.to/1WXRGgx">coffee bean grinder</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/1WXRwFL">coffee maker</a> with cone filter and thermal carafe, and a nice <a href="http://amzn.to/1nAgKhc">thermal travel mug</a>.</p> <h3>3. Lunchbox</h3> <p>Buy a large <a href="http://amzn.to/1WXRWMi">insulated lunch box</a> and pack your lunch every day. I use my giant lunchbox so I can easily pack leftovers or even larger items like full-sized boxes of cereal.</p> <h3>4. HDTV Antenna</h3> <p>Buy an indoor <a href="http://amzn.to/1nAh27N">HDTV antenna</a> and get free TV forever! You won't get as many channels over the air as you do with cable or satellite TV, but free is hard to beat. You can pay a reasonable one-time price for an antenna instead of paying over $100 every month for cable or satellite TV.</p> <h3>5. Garden</h3> <p>Spend some money to plant a garden. Grow your own food, and even sell or trade your extra produce. Even a few productive plants can provide a lot of healthy &mdash; and cheap &mdash; vegetables.</p> <h3>6. Car Wash Kit</h3> <p>Equip yourself to do car washes at home, and avoid paying up to $10 at the drive-through carwash. You'll need soap, sponges, a hose, and sprayer nozzle.</p> <h3>7. eReader</h3> <p>Buy an <a href="http://amzn.to/1So6Tsd">eReader</a> and pay less for your books. The electronic version of books are less expensive than paper, and you don't need bookshelves.</p> <h3>8. Filtered Water</h3> <p>Buy a water filter and a <a href="http://amzn.to/1nAhmDt">reusable bottle</a>, and stop wasting money on packs of plastic water bottles at the store. You can get a <a href="http://amzn.to/1nAhoLs">water pitcher</a> with a built-in filter to keep in your refrigerator, or even get a water filter for your refrigerator water dispenser.</p> <h3>9. Reusable Items</h3> <p>Buy reusable items instead of disposable items. Use rags instead of paper towels, <a href="http://amzn.to/1WXSF05">reusable glass</a> or <a href="http://amzn.to/1WXSIZT">plastic food storage containers</a> instead of baggies, etc. You'll save money with the reusable items, and you'll be putting less waste in the landfill as well.</p> <h3>10. Crock-Pot</h3> <p>Buy a <a href="http://amzn.to/1nAhLWw">Crock-Pot</a> and put dinner on autopilot. Load up the Crock-Pot and turn it on when you leave for work in the morning, and you'll have dinner waiting for you when you come home. If you can avoid going out for dinner a few times, the Crock-Pot will pay for itself.</p> <h2>Spending to Save Money on Energy</h2> <p>If you can spend money once to reduce your energy consumption, this can add up to lots of savings as you use less energy every day.</p> <h3>11. LED Bulbs</h3> <p>Buy energy-efficient lighting to reduce your electric bill. I am upgrading to <a href="http://amzn.to/1WXT6Yl">LED lightbulbs</a> that use much less electricity and last many times longer than incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs. Most of the lights in my house are LED now, and I am saving money every month.</p> <h3>12. Home Insulation</h3> <p>Insulating will help reduce your energy bill. Spend some time and money on caulk, weatherstripping, and fiberglass insulation, and save money on every utility bill for years to come.</p> <h3>13. Energy-Efficient Appliances</h3> <p>Some appliances use a lot of energy, such as your furnace, central A/C, water heater, and refrigerator. Get the most energy-efficient appliances available and save hundreds per year on lower energy bills. Over time, the energy savings will offset the increased initial cost of the energy-efficient appliances.</p> <h3>14. Programmable Thermostat</h3> <p>Upgrade to a <a href="http://amzn.to/1PMP3IC">programmable thermostat</a> to downgrade your utility bills. I recently replaced my old thermostat with a modern programmable unit. A programmable thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature setting based on your schedule, so you can use less energy heating and cooling the house when no one is home.</p> <h2>Spending to Invest in Yourself</h2> <p>Spending money to increase your earnings can result in a lot of additional income.</p> <h3>15. 401K Matching</h3> <p>If your employer offers a 401K program that matches funds, spend some money to get the free contributions that will boost your retirement investment.</p> <h3>16. Business Attire</h3> <p>You will need a suit to wear to job interviews if you want to step up your income with a higher paying career. A good suit can last for many years and support a number of career upgrades.</p> <h3>17. Higher Education</h3> <p>A lot of people are talking about high levels of student loan debt that many college graduates are facing, but a college degree in a high paying field can be worth over a million of dollars in additional income over your career. Even if you borrow money to finish school, investing to get into a high paying career can be a great financial strategy.</p> <h3>18. Learning New Skills</h3> <p>I recently spent about $20 to buy a writer's market book to find new places to sell my articles. If I can sell <em>just on</em>e extra article, this will more than pay for this investment in myself. Spend a little to learn a new skill or way to make money on the side.</p> <h2>Spending on Preventive Maintenance</h2> <p>Pay a little bit now for preventive maintenance, or pay a lot later for expensive repairs.</p> <h3>19. Car Maintenance</h3> <p>Spend money on oil changes and routine maintenance to keep you car going for years and avoid the expense of replacing your entire vehicle prematurely.</p> <h3>20. Dental Visits</h3> <p>Even though you don't want to, go in for dental cleanings. Pay a little now to keep your teeth in good shape and avoid much bigger expenses later.</p> <h3>21. Furnace Filters</h3> <p>Spend $10 or so to change your furnace filter every few months. A clean <a href="http://amzn.to/1So7J8x">furnace filter</a> increases the efficiency of your heating and cooling system and helps reduce wear and tear. Write down the size of furnace filter you need and keep it in your wallet so you know which size to get.</p> <p><em>What do you spend money on that saves 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/21-times-spending-more-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-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/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</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/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> <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/this-simple-calculation-will-tell-you-if-youre-getting-your-moneys-worth">This Simple Calculation Will Tell You If You&#039;re Getting Your Money&#039;s Worth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-3190-with-a-50-hdtv-antenna">How I Saved $3,190 With a $50 HDTV Antenna</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping education everyday expenses maintenance saving money spending Tue, 16 Feb 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1654793 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Mistakes Everyone Makes When Buying Their First Car http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-mistakes-everyone-makes-when-buying-their-first-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-mistakes-everyone-makes-when-buying-their-first-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_new_car_000023883579.jpg" alt="Woman making money mistakes everyone makes with their first car" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's easy to make money mistakes anytime you buy a car &mdash; but your first car is especially risky. Here are some expensive first-time car buying mistakes and how to avoid them.</p> <h2>1. Buying the Wrong Kind of Car</h2> <p>When shopping for your first car, it's easy to overlook how you're going to actually use it in the long term. You might think about picking up friends to go out, but overlook routine chores such as hauling groceries home. Your car needs can change rapidly. You don't want a two-seater if your family could grow to three or more within a couple short years. The best way to save money on car expenses is to drive the same car for many years, so choose wisely!</p> <h2>2. Buying a Car With Poor Fuel Economy</h2> <p>If you are buying your first car, you probably aren't used to experiencing pain at the pump, and consequently you may not consider the cost of keeping gas in a pick-up truck. With the current low gas prices, you may not feel that fuel economy is a major consideration &mdash; but don't fall for this expensive mistake. If you choose a car that gets half the fuel economy, you'll pay twice as much for gas &mdash; no matter what happens to the price of gas. And just because gas prices are low today doesn't mean they'll stay low forever. If you buy a fuel hog and gas prices go up, it could seriously impact the resale value of your vehicle down the road.</p> <h2>3. Surprise Maintenance Required</h2> <p>Used cars are much less expensive to buy than new, and are a great choice for a first car. But sometimes a used vehicle can have expensive problems that are not obvious until after you have driven off in it. Never buy a vehicle with a check engine light on unless you understand what maintenance is required to resolve the issue. The problems indicated by a check engine light can cost only a few dollars to repair &mdash; such as replacing the gas cap &mdash; or thousands. The only way to know is to get the car checked out by a mechanic who can read the diagnostic codes, investigate the trouble, and provide an estimate for repairs.</p> <p>Even if the check engine light is not on, I recommend having any used vehicle checked over by a mechanic before you buy it. Getting a vehicle inspection can be a bit inconvenient and costs around $50, but you could save thousands by avoiding a car with expensive maintenance needs. You can also use the inspection report as a bargaining tool to get a better price. Do you really want to risk buying a used car without knowing what could be wrong with it?</p> <h2>4. Buying to Impress</h2> <p>Start your car search by thinking of the things you need a car to do. It needs to be reliable, get you to where you are going, and hold the things you need to haul. That's pretty much it. There are all kinds of options and upgrades available, but these do not change the basic functionality of a car.</p> <p>It is easy to think that a nice car will impress people and make your life better, but any reliable car provides the same basic utility. Try to approach buying a car as you would buying a tool, and don't let emotion overcome your judgment about what a car can do for you.</p> <h2>5. Thinking of a Vehicle as an Investment</h2> <p>Just because cars are expensive doesn't mean they are an investment. Almost any car you buy will drop significantly in value after only a few years. Dealers may encourage you to buy a more expensive car so it will have better resale value later. It is true that certain options such as automatic transmission and all-wheel drive improve resale value, but other options that add thousands of dollars to you car cost may bring only a few hundred dollars of resale value years later. Buying a car is an expense, not an investment. Try to minimize how much you need to spend to obtain safe, reliable transportation.</p> <h2>6. Not Negotiating on Price</h2> <p>Price negotiation can be a new concept for first-time car buyers. Car prices are not like prices for other items for sale &mdash; the sticker price is only a suggestion, and the seller is almost always ready to sell it for less. If you pay full asking price for a car, you are likely paying hundreds, or even thousands, more than you need to pay. With a few minutes of research on the Internet, you can arm yourself with the information you need to confidently negotiate a lower price. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/speed-past-car-debt-with-this-simple-timing-trick">Speed Past Car Debt With This Simple Timing Trick</a>)</p> <h2>7. Getting Tricked Into Dealer Financing</h2> <p>At the end of the car buying process, there is one more chance to make a costly mistake &mdash; dealer financing. The dealer may try to convince first-time car buyers that it will be difficult for them to get financing at all. After taking down some information and working some magic, they will appear with a financing offer and say that you were lucky to qualify. Just sign and the car is yours &mdash; along with its big monthly payments. The problem is that the interest rate from the dealer may be substantially higher than the rate you could get elsewhere. Avoid this trap by getting prequalified for financing at an online lender, credit union, or bank before you go car shopping. This way, you will know how much you can borrow and find a good interest rate before you fall in love with the car.</p> <p><em>What mistakes did you make when buying your first car?</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/7-money-mistakes-everyone-makes-when-buying-their-first-car">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/what-you-need-to-know-before-leasing-a-car">What You Need to Know Before Leasing a Car</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-wisebread-helped-me-get-45mpg-out-of-my-28mpg-car">How Wisebread helped me get 45mpg out of my 28mpg car.</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/is-it-still-smart-to-buy-an-electric-car-while-gas-prices-are-low">Is It Still Smart to Buy an Electric Car While Gas Prices Are Low?</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/you-cant-make-it-as-a-one-car-family-now-what">You Can&#039;t Make It as a One-Car Family: Now What?</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/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation financing fuel economy gas prices maintenance Mistakes negotiating new cars Tue, 02 Feb 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1647337 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $50 or Less http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_painting_000023944106.jpg" alt="Couple doing cool diy home improvements for $50 or less" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not all great home improvement projects cost an arm and a leg. In fact, there are lots of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">cool DIY home improvements</a> that you can do for under $50. None of these jobs requires serious craftsperson skills, nor do they require specialized tools homeowners are unlikely to have in their garages.</p> <h2>1. Free Yard Makeover</h2> <p>Pick up trash, remove clutter, trim overgrown bushes, weed flower beds, edge your driveway and sidewalks, and generally get your yard in shape. It doesn't cost anything to do this if you already have the tools, and it can make your yard look a lot nicer and you'll feel better every time you come home.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004R9YE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00004R9YE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6J5D7JK7U3HEFEO6">Saw</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002N66H/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00002N66H&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=GNDD6QTMKD6EEBFD">hand pruner</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00U2KFXAK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00U2KFXAK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=SK2UHJY7AJO4DWRI">manual edging tool</a>.</p> <p>Cost: Free!</p> <p>Time: One day.</p> <h2>2. Remove Worn Out Carpet</h2> <p>If you pull back your old, worn out carpet in a corner of a room to see what is underneath, you may be surprised to find a hardwood floor. Even if the floor under the carpet is not in great condition, a hardwood floor may be an improvement over ugly, distressed carpet.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CRBHJE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000CRBHJE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=I3YZZTIQNS4DZ2BP">Carpet knife</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002N5VN/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00002N5VN&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=MOFSLIPMVF6FTNXA">pry bar</a>.</p> <p>Cost: Free!</p> <p>Time: One day.</p> <h2>3. Replace Old Outlets and Light Switches</h2> <p>It is cheap and easy to replace worn out light switches and electrical outlets with brand new ones. Check local building codes to make sure this is considered a DIY project and turn off the circuit breaker before touching the wiring. You can even get replacement electrical outlets that have built-in USB ports for charging your phone.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CDIY3HS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CDIY3HS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BVMD2IFAEWKZZLUX">Screwdriver</a>.</p> <p>Cost: Roughly $3 per switch/outlet.</p> <p>Time: 30 minutes.</p> <h2>4. Paint Your Front Door</h2> <p>This small project can make a big impact on your home's curb appeal. New paint can make an old door look new again. Choose a color that matches your siding, but makes your door stand out.</p> <p>For any painting project, save money by getting &quot;mistint&quot; paint at the paint counter of your home improvement store. If you are flexible on the color, you can get a $40 gallon of paint for $10 or less. You can even mix mistint paints together to adjust the color &mdash; for example, mixing in some lighter paint to make a lighter color.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002YC6FNS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002YC6FNS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5ZTCXWFNDD7DGS5I">Paint roller</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002N6HD/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00002N6HD&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=MWYJSWWSEVD7KOVF">paint brush</a>, and a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004HW7GMC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004HW7GMC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=N7BQDSB5U6U77BSE">paint can opener</a> (or screwdriver).</p> <p>Cost: Around $20.</p> <p>Time: Two hours.</p> <h2>5. Paint Your Shutters</h2> <p>You can easily remove your shutters and paint them a different color. If you have a second story, you'll need a ladder to unscrew your shutters. Paint your shutters, allow them to dry for a few hours, and screw them back in place for an immediate, cheap upgrade to your home's exterior.</p> <p>Tools required: Paintbrush, paint can opener, and a ladder.</p> <p>Cost: Around $20.</p> <p>Time: One day.</p> <h2>6. Install Built-In Bookshelves</h2> <p>Create some built-in storage and a display area in your living room by installing built-in bookshelves. Locate the studs in your wall and install rails to hold metal shelf brackets. Place wood shelves in the shelf brackets and you'll be ready to load it up.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000IKK0OI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000IKK0OI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=3H4U6W7BTTNSLZ2C">Stud finder</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005LTNLDI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005LTNLDI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5C7WYCE2F7JUUWQB">drill</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BQR7TU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000BQR7TU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=3NP3IMIR5LJACOUI">level</a>, and a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009CMV9D4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009CMV9D4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RQRJM5DNRTIYRGX3">saw</a>.</p> <p>Cost: $35.</p> <p>Time: One hour.</p> <h2>7. Update Your Porch Light</h2> <p>Does your front porch light look like something out of the 1970s? Mine was literally from the 1970s, and I replaced it with a brand new one. This simple upgrade made the entry to my house look decades newer.</p> <p>Tools required: Screwdriver.</p> <p>Cost: $35.</p> <p>Time: One hour.</p> <h2>8. Garage Threshold Kit</h2> <p>I had water and leaves coming in under my garage door and decided to do something about it. Installing a garage threshold helped keep my garage dryer and cleaner. You'll need to clean the garage floor and let the adhesive for the threshold cure for a few days before driving on it, so remember to park outside when you start this project!</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001N9YD0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0001N9YD0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YI2UDNZCEO6MTBPU">Caulk gun</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002X204/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00002X204&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=U36OKRYWNSHOEK4N">utility knife</a>.</p> <p>Cost: $35.</p> <p>Time: One hour.</p> <h2>9. Paint a Room</h2> <p>If your walls are standard white, almost any other color would be a dramatic improvement! You'll need to move furniture away from the walls and put down drop cloths to protect your floor during painting.</p> <p>Tools required: Paint roller, paint brush, paint can opener, and a ladder.</p> <p>Cost: $40.</p> <p>Time: One day.</p> <h2>10. Mount Your TV</h2> <p>Installing a wall mount for your flat screen TV will free up space and is less expensive than buying a furniture stand. Make sure to choose a wall mount that is rated to handle the weight of your TV.</p> <p>Tools required: Stud finder, drill, and a level.</p> <p>Cost: $40.</p> <p>Time: Two hours.</p> <h2>11. Install a Clothesline</h2> <p>This is one of my favorite projects since it will save money on electricity, and save wear and tear on your dryer. In most yards, you will want to set a couple of 4x4 posts in concrete, screw 2x4 cross bars onto the posts, and install eye hooks onto the crossbars. Next, tie clothesline string between the eye hooks. If you are lucky, you can find a couple trees that can handle a clothesline instead of installing posts.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005Q7CFGO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005Q7CFGO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FLG3LT7IM4PTXF77">Manual post hole digger</a>, level, drill, and a saw.</p> <p>Cost: $50.</p> <p>Time: Three hours.</p> <h2>12. Install a Workbench in Your Garage or Basement</h2> <p>Install a built-in workbench in your garage or basement to make a work surface and storage area for your tools and project materials. I found used countertops and kitchen base cabinets for free. You can also use 2x4 boards and 3/4 inch plywood to build a workbench from scratch and anchor it to the wall. Put up some pegboard on the wall over the workbench for handy tool storage.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000P9H4VO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000P9H4VO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=EDP7B47N6VX5SLBO">Circular saw</a>, drill, stud finder, and a level.</p> <p>Cost: $50.</p> <p>Time: Three hours.</p> <h2>13. Install a Countertop Over Your Washer/Dryer</h2> <p>Install a countertop over your washer and dryer to make a surface for folding clothes and handy storage, as well. You will need to install 1x2 inch wood strips into studs to support the countertop which can be a sheet of 3/4 inch plywood cut to size. I had a 4x8 sheet of plywood cut at the home improvement store to save time and so it would fit in my car for the trip home.</p> <p>Tools required: Level, stud finder, drill, and a saw.</p> <p>Cost: $50.</p> <p>Time: Three hours.</p> <h2>14. Build Up Soil Around Your Foundation</h2> <p>The easiest way to keep water out of your basement is to build up soil around your foundation so that water will flow away. You can buy 50 pound bags of soil for a few dollars each, or bring in a truckload of soil for a larger project.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000B6Q6BA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000B6Q6BA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=2IYBSCNO2MYZDQUM">Shovel</a> and a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004S1YK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00004S1YK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RCSGVDBXA37NJKNL">rake</a>.</p> <p>Cost: $50.</p> <p>Time: Four hours.</p> <h2>15. Install a Programmable Thermostat</h2> <p>If your home has an older thermostat, you are missing out on energy savings and convenience. A programmable thermostat can automatically adjust the temperature setting when no one is home and at night to save money. You can easily replace your old thermostat with a basic <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0088A5X5G/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0088A5X5G&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=SX32K6QSUJGH7XNR">programmable thermostat</a> for $50 or less.</p> <p>Tools required: Screwdriver.</p> <p>Cost: $50.</p> <p>Time: Two hours.</p> <p><em>There are a lot of cool DIY projects you can complete for under $50 to make your home a place you will be proud of. What is your favorite cheap home improvement project?</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/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less">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/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</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-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life">How to Keep DIY Projects From Ruining Your Life</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-paint-the-exterior-of-your-home">How to Paint the Exterior of Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</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/repaint-your-old-furniture-for-a-budget-d-cor-update">Repaint Your Old Furniture for a Budget Décor Update</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home curb appeal improvements maintenance painting renovations Mon, 19 Oct 2015 15:17:56 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1593635 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/car_service_000017616649.jpg" alt="Car repairs you can easily do yourself" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the monthly expenses many of us forget to include in our budgets is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-slick-tools-to-save-money-on-car-repairs">car repair and maintenance</a>. Sure, we put down the price of gas, and maybe an oil change every two or three months, but we forget about most of the ongoing maintenance costs. Cars need regular maintenance over their useful lives, and most of us will pay through the nose to get it performed. But it doesn't have to be that way. With parts bought online, some simple tools, and a little basic knowledge, many car repairs can be done without visiting a mechanic.</p> <p>I talked to Richard Reina, the Training Director at <a href="http://www.carid.com/">CARiD</a>, about some of the easiest car repairs you can do at home. You can find most of the replacement parts at CARiD or similar sites, plus many instructional videos and fact sheets that will ensure you have the help you need every step of the way. I also talked to several mechanics, including a family member who has had over 20 years of experience fixing cars. He, like many other experts, was adamant that with preparation, you can save a lot of time and money on repairs.</p> <h2>1. Change Your Own Brake Pads</h2> <p>When I first heard that, my reaction was &quot;No way, I'm not messing with my brakes!&quot; But as Reina points out, it's a very simple and inexpensive procedure that mechanics and specialty brake shops will charge hundreds of dollars to do. The industry wants you to think it's hard, because they make a lot of profit from a very simple procedure, but pads are way easier to replace than old fashioned drum brake &quot;shoes.&quot;</p> <p>All you need is a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004SEXO3E/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004SEXO3E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HZG267264PF33LG4">wheel lug wrench</a>, some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004QO9MAU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004QO9MAU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NBJPGJ3TPWJWCZON">basic wrenches</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NPXI0G/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000NPXI0G&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4RW72BPDX4EJRYYP">pliers</a>, and of course a jack and set of jack stands (never get under a car unless it is on jack stands; you cannot rely on the jack as it may fail).</p> <p>A set of new brake pads will set you back just $20&ndash;$40, depending on the car and pad material. Compare that to the industry average of $250 per axle, and you can see how much this DIY job will save you. The procedure is basic. Take off the wheel, remove the hardware, pull out the worn pads, push in the caliper piston, install the new pads, and reinstall the hardware. You should be able to do all four wheels in under an hour, even if this is your first time doing the job. The new pads will last between 30,000&ndash;50,000 miles, and you should check them every 10,000 miles. When the pad thickness falls below 2mm&ndash;3mm, it's time for another replacement set.</p> <h2>2. Change the Battery</h2> <p>It amazes me how many people will get a shop to replace the battery, since this is by far the easiest of all DIY repairs. A battery will last 4&ndash;6 years, so you should be able to figure out when your current battery is ready to be changed. (Almost every battery will have a date stamped on it, so look for this if you want to be sure.) You <em>do not</em> want to wait until you start having problems. If you do, you could be stranded with a dead battery, and that's dangerous for many reasons.</p> <p>The average price of a new battery is around $80, although you can spend more or less depending on the make and model. A dealer will charge upwards of $200 to replace it.</p> <p>To do the swap, you just need a basic set of wrenches. The biggest warning here, Reina says, is the order in which you remove the replace the cables. Remove the NEGATIVE (black) cable FIRST, and when you have installed the new battery, replace the NEGATIVE cable LAST. If you don't do it this way, you could short circuit the positive (red) terminal to a grounded part of the car.</p> <h2>3. Do Your Own Oil Change</h2> <p>A typical quick lube place could charge anywhere from $30 to $70 for an oil change. Some can go as high as $90&ndash;$100, especially if you own an expensive import. But then you see signs like $15 oil change and think, &quot;Well I'd pay that for the oil and filter anyway, so why not let them do it for me?&quot;</p> <p>Here's why. First, there is always an asterisk on those oil changes. They come with conditions, and may not include the correct amount of oil required for your engine (this happens a lot when you bring in an SUV or truck). You will also be given a low-grade oil, rather than a full synthetic or even a synthetic blend. And most importantly, the cheap oil change is a loss leader.</p> <p>The loss-leader oil change is a great way to get you to hand over your car to the garage so that they can get under the hood and see if it has problems. A reputable place won't find any unless there are genuine problems. Others, well, let's just say they find problems that don't need attention.</p> <p>Suddenly, the $15 oil change has become thousands in major repairs. Poor establishments will use high-pressure tactics to get you to sign up for the work, and you may not even get the chance to get a second opinion.</p> <p>So, do it yourself. Buy a good quality oil filter and the best oil you can afford from your local supplier (it can be an auto specialist or a retail store). Other than jack stands and a jack, you'll need an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NPPB6U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000NPPB6U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=I2Q5NR76Q5CIAA3M">oil filter wrench</a> and a drain pan. These only have to be purchased once and will last you decades (my father-in-law has been using the same drain pan for 20 years). You can find videos online walking you through oil changes on a variety of different vehicles.</p> <p>And one final note. As Richard Reina points out, the days of the &quot;every 3,000 miles&quot; oil changes are long gone. Vehicles these days can often go 10,000 miles between oil changes. Check your manual.</p> <h2>4. Change Your Spark Plugs</h2> <p>There is an episode of the iconic TV series <em>Frasier</em> that shows Niles and Frasier Crane attending an automotive workshop. The very first lesson is how to change spark plugs. It's one of the easiest home repairs you can do, although these days it is very rare you'll even have to perform this service. On modern cars, extended-life spark plugs can maintain a precise gap for 100,000 miles. However, it is still wise to check them every 30,000-40,000 miles, just to make sure.</p> <p>When the time does come to replace your spark plugs, along with your regular set of tools you will need a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002KNZ8C/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002KNZ8C&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=URY7DFKT6D5FA6ZL">spark plug wrench</a>. Again, this is a &quot;buy once, use for a lifetime&quot; kind of purchase, and it's not very expensive (under $10 in most cases). (WikiHow has a great <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Change-Spark-Plugs-in-a-Car">instructional piece here</a>.) And the savings&hellip;let's just say it's significant. You can pay over $300 for spark plugs to be changed, and spark plugs themselves are rarely more than $30 for a set.</p> <h2>5. Replace a Headlight or Taillight</h2> <p>If you are a good car owner, you will perform a regular walk around of your vehicle. It's important to do this for many reasons, but one of the biggest is to check that all the lights are working. Not only are lights essential for clear vision, and alerting drivers to your intentions, but you can also incur traffic tickets if they aren't working. So, try and do this at least once a month (you'll need someone to help you check the taillights).</p> <p>If one (or more) isn't working, it's time to buy a replacement and do it yourself. With the average hourly repair rate of a garage being $100, you could easily spend $25&ndash;$50 per bulb, especially if the shop has a minimum charge.</p> <p>One of the most important things to do is bring the old bulb with you to the store. You want to make sure you are getting like for like. And, when it comes time to change it out, never touch the bulb glass with your bare hands. The grease from your fingers can cause the bulb to burn out early.</p> <h2>6. Replace Your Windshield Wipers</h2> <p>Some people go to a garage or dealership to have their windshield wipers replaced. This is, without a doubt, a massive waste of your time and money. A set of wipers will run you between $20 and $40 on average, plus the dealer will charge you one hour of labor (that's about $100). Don't throw your money away. It takes minutes to replace the wipers on your vehicle yourself, and all of the instructions are provided in the replacement wipers you buy.</p> <p>When you go to a store &mdash; say Walmart or Target &mdash; they'll have a reference manual (these days it's often a small electronic terminal) which will tell you which wiper sizes you need to ensure a correct fit. In most cases, the old wipers slide out, and the new ones slide in. The last time I changed my wipers, it took two minutes for both&hellip;and most of that time was spent trying to hack open the vacuum-sealed plastic package!</p> <h2>7. Replace Your Air Filter</h2> <p>Richard Reina pointed out another simple fix that mechanics and dealerships will heavily mark up with labor costs and parts. And yet, it is a very quick fix (in most cases&hellip;if you happen to own a German import, you may have a few extra parts to remove to access the filter). On average, you'll pay over $100 in labor costs, and $50 for the filter.</p> <p>The typical cost of an air filter from a retail store is between $15&ndash;$20, but again, this can be higher depending on the make and model of your car. In most cases, you will simply have to open up the hood of the car, turn a few screws, open the air filter housing, swap out the old for the news, and replace the screws. It really is that simple, and you can save a ton of money doing it yourself.</p> <h2>8. Fix a Chipped Windshield</h2> <p>I recently had to do this one myself, and I can tell you&hellip;it's so simple. I had a small rock chip in the windshield. I was tempted to go by one of those &quot;fix it free&quot; places that hang out near malls, but they operate through your insurance company, and I wasn't keen on going through all that for a simple rock chip.</p> <p>On Amazon or eBay, you can find <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GFS2C8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004GFS2C8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=TGVTUO2W4ELE2GOQ">windshield repair kits</a> for under $15. Some run as low as $8. When you get it, all you need to do is dig out any loose glass with the pin provided, and then thoroughly clean it, and the surrounding area. You will have to stick a small device to the windshield that forms a seal around the rock chip, and then a vacuum contraption will work to apply the resin into the crack. It's an operation that takes less than one hour, from opening the package to the finished result, and most of that is simply waiting time. Stop that crack from spreading, before you need to replace the entire windshield. That can be costly.</p> <p><em>Now, what services do you regularly perform on your own car that saves you time and money? Let us know in the comments below. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-change-the-bulb-just-remove-the-bumper-wait-what">To change the bulb, just remove the bumper. Wait, what? - UPDATED.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-a-rental-car-heres-what-you-need-to-know">Buying a Rental Car? Here&#039;s What You Need to Know</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-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring">8 Easy Home Maintenance To-Dos for Spring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-quick-clothing-and-shoe-repair-fixes-you-should-own">15 Quick Clothing and Shoe Repair Fixes You Should Own</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Cars and Transportation DIY fixing maintenance mechanic repairs vehicles Wed, 15 Jul 2015 17:00:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1484612 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Easy Home Maintenance To-Dos for Spring http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_home_improvements_000018550842.jpg" alt="Family doing easy jobs on spring home maintenance checklist" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ah, spring. The weather is warm again. You're outside enjoying life. And there's a heck of a lot of stuff that needs to get done. This season is one of the best to check many of those pesky <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-for-spring-cleaning-on-a-budget">home maintenance chores</a> off your to-do list. So read through our suggestions to see if you're forgetting any of the basics.</p> <h2>1. Cool AC Units</h2> <p>Now's the time to get your AC unit in order before the hot weather hits. Change any filters that might be dirty. Examine all lines running into your unit for leaks and kinks. If you suspect anything might be wrong with your machine, call in a professional. They'll check for levels of refrigerant, duct leakage, airflow, belt wear, and more. A little money now will prevent you from uncomfortable nights later.</p> <h2>2. Secure Roof Shingles</h2> <p>I've noticed we have a few shingles loose on our roof after the brutal winter. I spotted them from down the street as I walked toward our house. If you don't have a clear vantage point, try hopping up on a ladder. A sound roof will protect your home from leaks and other more costly issues. Our roof is quite high, so we'll be hiring a handyman. <a href="http://home.costhelper.com/roof-repair.html">Roof repair costs</a> can range between $95 to $127 to fix a few shingles, to upwards of $350 to repair larger sections.</p> <h2>3. Stop Persistent Pests</h2> <p>While you're at it, walk around your property and look for evidence of pests and infestations. There are a number of critters that can wreck havoc, including carpenter bees, termites, ants, wasps, and more. You can buy sprays and other eradicators at home improvement stores, but bigger infestations are best left to the professionals. Call around to get a couple free quotes from local companies. I have found them to be considerably cheaper than the nationwide chains.</p> <h2>4. Scrub Moldy Siding</h2> <p>Improve your curb appeal! If your vinyl siding is looking dingy and dirty, try using a power washer for a weekend to clean it up. You can <a href="http://home.costhelper.com/pressure-washing.html">rent a power washer</a> for around $40 to $75 per day. Professionals could cost you $750 or more, depending on the size of your home. A friend of mine hand-washes his house using a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water, a scrub brush, and a lot of elbow grease. Whatever way you choose to do it, you'll be cleaning off lots of nasty mold and mildew stains.</p> <h2>5. Redo Damaged Decks</h2> <p>How's your deck doing these days? Chances are you might need to reseal it or even stain for the first time. Before you start, clean your deck using a specially formulated cleanser or solution of vinegar and water. The jury is out on whether power washing is the best method, so we scrub ours by hand. After letting your deck dry for at least a day, apply a single coat of stain of your choosing. If your deck is in poor order, check to make sure it's still structurally sound and consider applying a product like <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/b/Paint-Deck-Patio-Restoration/BEHR-Premium-DeckOver/N-5yc1vZc7gvZc4x">BEHR DeckOver</a> or <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/b/Paint-Deck-Patio-Restoration/BEHR-Premium-DeckOver/N-5yc1vZc7gvZc4x">Rust-Oleum Restore</a>. These paints come in a variety of shades and can give even the most splintery old decks a new lease on life.</p> <h2>6. Close Caulk Gaps</h2> <p>Many of us focus on caulking windows before the cold weather hits, but spring and summer can present just as many challenges. Those of you who live in particularly hot climates could be losing tons of money (and efficiency) through the loss of your cool AC right out the window. Walk around your home &mdash; inside and out &mdash; taking note of any drafts or areas where you can see gaps. Concentrate your efforts particularly around door and window frames, air conditioners, where brick and wood siding meet, etc.</p> <h2>7. Clean Gutter Clogs</h2> <p>Surprisingly enough, your gutters might fill up with more debris <em>after </em>winter than they did in the fall. You'll want to examine the flow from gutters to downspouts during a rainstorm or check for any other damage (pulling away from the home, sagging, etc.). Cleaning is as easy as hopping on a ladder and scooping out the blockages using your hands or a wet/dry vacuum. You can even flush your gutters using your garden hose. As always, if your project seems too big or dangerous (ladders), you can get a professional to <a href="http://home.costhelper.com/gutter-cleaning.html">clean your gutters</a> for around $90 to $225 for a 2,000 square foot home.</p> <h2>8. Cover Driveway Cracks</h2> <p>Direct your attention to your walkways and driveway. Are there any areas that are cracked or even missing? If the damaged sidewalk is part of your city's responsibility, try requesting repairs through your local municipality. Otherwise, patch sidewalks by clearing the area of loose debris and spreading a layer of cement. It's a good temporary fix that should last several seasons before a total redo is necessary. You can refresh your driveway by filling cracks and then spreading driveway sealer to cover. Let dry for 24 to 48 hours before opening to your vehicles.</p> <p><em>What's on your home maintenance to-do list this spring?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-82-best-spring-cleaning-hacks-we-ve-ever-shared">Flashback Friday: The 82 Best Spring Cleaning Hacks We’ve Ever Shared</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-safest-cities-in-america-from-natural-disasters">10 Safest Cities in America from Natural Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ruin-an-antique-how-to-tell-if-you-should-refinish-wooden-furniture">Don&#039;t Ruin an Antique! How to Tell If You Should Refinish Wooden Furniture</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/to-change-the-bulb-just-remove-the-bumper-wait-what">To change the bulb, just remove the bumper. Wait, what? - UPDATED.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Home maintenance repairs roofing spring cleaning Mon, 18 May 2015 15:00:08 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1421643 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Little Ways to Make Your Stuff Last Longer http://www.wisebread.com/20-little-ways-to-make-your-stuff-last-longer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-little-ways-to-make-your-stuff-last-longer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/charging-laptop-494938465-small.jpg" alt="charging laptop" title="charging laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>These days it seems that almost everything we buy is disposable, meaning it's often easier to replace something when it breaks rather than put in the effort to maintain or fix it. However, there are many good reasons to put some work into making your things last. Not only are you saving money and keeping something out of the landfill, but you also get to keep the things you love longer. Potentially, prolonging the life of your things is a good reason to splurge on better-quality, but fewer goods. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-maintenance-and-repair-whats-an-emergency-and-what-can-wait?ref=seealso">Home Maintenance and Repair: What's an Emergency and What Can Wait?</a>)</p> <p>So here's how to do it.</p> <h2>1. Clothes</h2> <p>Make your clothes last longer by using a few simple tricks such as washing in cold water, buying dark colors that camouflage stains, and not machine-drying delicate clothing. Buy an inexpensive lint shaver to keep the pilling down on knit clothing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-clothes-last-longer-without-spending-big?ref=seealso">Make Your Clothes Last Longer Without Spending Big</a>)</p> <h2>2. Vacuum Cleaner</h2> <p>Empty the bag before it gets full (or the canister for bagless vacuum) and clean the filter regularly. Use scissors or a seam ripper to get rid of the hair and threads stuck around the carpet roller to keep your vacuum running smoothly.</p> <h2>3. Dryer</h2> <p>During your <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20052014,00.html">dryer maintenance</a>, it is extremely important to empty the lint trap and the dryer vents regularly, as dryers are a common cause of fire. Check the vent every six months to remove excess lint buildup, and every year remove the exhaust vent to clear it fully. Your dryer will last longer and your clothes will dry faster (plus no pesky fires).</p> <h2>4. Washing Machine</h2> <p>To keep your <a href="http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/appliances/how-do-i-maintain-my-washer-and-dryer/#.">washing machine in tip-top shape</a>, be sure to use the recommended type of detergent for your washing machine. Make sure the washing machine can dry between uses by leaving the door open (and for front-loaders, you may need to dry the door). Check hoses and fittings every month or two to ensure nothing is loose or leaking, and replace rubber hoses with braided metal ones.</p> <h2>5. Dishwasher</h2> <p>Manually clean out your dishwasher's filter every week or two to keep the it running smoothly. Use these other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-dishwasher-last-almost-forever-with-these-6-tricks">dishwasher maintenance tricks</a> to make your dishwasher run better and last longer.</p> <h2>6. Coffee Maker</h2> <p>Cleaning your coffee maker every month or two will make your coffee taste better and delay the inevitable day that you throw out that calcium-encrusted machine. Just run equal parts vinegar and water through a brew cycle and follow with several cycles of plain water.</p> <h2>7. Water Heater</h2> <p>You might want to brave the trek down into the bowels of your basement to <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20351985,00.html">check your water heater</a> once a year. This is one appliance where regular maintenance makes a big difference. Yearly flush the water from the water heater to prevent sediment build-up (which can shorten the machine's life considerably), and check the anode rod to see if it needs replacing. Without an anode rod the hot water will quickly corrode and rust out the inside of your water heater.</p> <h2>8. Tile and Grout</h2> <p>Keep mold and mildew down on tile and grout in the bathroom by spraying regularly with a vinegar-water solution. Keep grout clean by using a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007BF0M6E/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007BF0M6E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YU7JCZ3R2L6JDHXS">grout cleaner product</a>.</p> <h2>9. Shower Curtain</h2> <p>You actually can wash a vinyl shower curtain with a couple of towels in the washing machine (the towels help to scrub it clean). Add normal detergent and a cup of vinegar to help kill any mildew. Do this once a month to keep your shower curtain looking new. Be sure to run the fan and close the shower curtain between showers so it gets a chance to dry out.</p> <h2>10. Bathroom Exhaust Fan</h2> <p>It's important to clean the bathroom exhaust fan every once in a while (at least every six months) to help it run more efficiently and to keep the air moving, which inhibits mold.</p> <h2>11. Drains</h2> <p>Keep shower drains clear of hair by investing in a cheap hair strainer that fits over the drain. Keep drains clog-free by regularly pouring baking soda or vinegar (or both) down the pipes and chasing with hot water, as well as doing other preventative maintenance. Ultimately, your pipes will last longer if you avoid using harsh de-clogging chemicals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains?ref=seealso">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a>)</p> <h2>12. Garbage Disposal</h2> <p>To keep your garbage disposal working longer, be sure to grind up waste along with plenty of water. Never use Drano or de-clogging chemicals in the garbage disposal. Instead, keep it clean by flushing it often with soapy water (or vinegar), and grinding up a couple of ice cubes every few weeks.</p> <h2>13. Herbs</h2> <p>Learn how to store herbs to make them last longer. For example, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer-and-taste-better">storing leafy herbs</a> with their stems in a glass of water keeps them fresh longer, and before they go bad, you can freeze them in ice-cube trays with a little olive oil.</p> <h2>14. Groceries</h2> <p>You can also keep food fresh longer by using a <a href="http://www.threethriftyguys.com/2013/04/8-ways-to-make-your-groceries-last-longer/">few nifty tricks</a>, such as spraying your guacamole with cooking spray, or storing ginger in the freezer.</p> <h2>15. Furniture</h2> <p>Give your wood furniture a new lease on life by using a finish restoring product (such as the aptly named <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000LNSIM8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000LNSIM8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NSA6SCUWGDX6GPW">Restore-a-Finish</a>), or by sanding and staining or painting. Keep the finish pristine by using coasters and placemats, or opt for a heavy-duty clear finish such as polyurethane. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-old-furniture-shine-with-these-simple-refinishing-tricks?ref=seealso">Make Old Furniture Shine With These Simple Refinishing Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>16. Sofa</h2> <p>If the cushions are still good on your old sofa, slipcover it to get longer and more attractive use out of it. For heirloom quality furniture, professional upholstery, while not cheap, can give the furniture another 40 years of life for less than the cost of a new, cheaply-made sofa.</p> <h2>17. Mattress</h2> <p>Flipping and rotating your mattress every three months can extend its life. If you buy a new mattress, be sure to install it correctly (on its box spring or platform) for better longevity.</p> <h2>18. Leather Couch</h2> <p>Keep your leather sofa (or other leather upholstery) from cracking prematurely by cleaning it regularly and buffing in a conditioning solution. You can use this product on leather car seats as well. Keep leather upholstery out of the sun if possible to extend its life.</p> <h2>19. Wood Floors</h2> <p>Keep your wood floors looking nice for longer by keeping them clean of sand and debris that can scratch the surface. Put felt pads on the bottom of chairs that might drag over the floor. Be sure you know what kind of <a href="http://www.housecleaningcentral.com/en/cleaning-tips/floors/hardwood-floor.html">finish is on your floors</a> before applying a polish or wax, as different finishes may be damaged by different products.</p> <h2>20. Electronic Device Batteries</h2> <p>Keep your laptop running longer by not keeping it plugged in all day. Instead, use up the battery, charge it fully, and then unplug it. With most electronic devices, batteries will last longer if you let them die before recharging them, and avoid using them while they are charging.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your stuff lasting longer and looking like new? Please share in comments!</em></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/20-little-ways-to-make-your-stuff-last-longer">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-cheap-and-easy-formulas-for-homemade-windshield-de-icer-plus-bonus-tips">3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)</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/11-useful-genius-math-tricks-that-are-actually-easy">11 Useful, Genius Math Tricks That Are Actually Easy</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-personal-issues-no-one-at-work-needs-to-hear">10 Personal Issues No One at Work Needs to Hear</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips last longer maintenance product life repair Wed, 10 Sep 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1207023 at http://www.wisebread.com Is DIY Home Renovating for You? http://www.wisebread.com/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house-repair-4429409-small.jpg" alt="renovtion" title="renovation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The DIY movement has really taken off in the last couple of years, and the average homeowner can easily access Internet tutorials on pretty much anything from crafting your own DIY art to installing new can lights to completely gutting and overhauling the plumbing in your master bathroom. But are you cut out for DIY?</p> <p>Not everyone may have the temperament or skills to effectively renovate their home on their own, and a botched DIY job can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes" target="_blank">end up costing you thousands of dollars</a> in labor and materials. Before you start swinging that sledgehammer, consider whether DIY renovating is for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-car-maintenance-with-these-5-diy-tips" target="_blank">Save on Car Maintenance With These 5 DIY Tips</a>)</p> <h2>1. Are You a Meticulous and Patient Person?</h2> <p>DIY home renovation shows make complex tasks such as installing a lighting fixture or mitering corners for crown molding seem like simple, fast, and easy jobs. However, if you're a beginner to DIY, figuring out these tasks can take a long time and require careful study of tutorials, plans, and measurements. In some cases, a slapdash, haphazard approach can be dangerous and cause major problems down the line (especially with electrical and plumbing). Even if we're not talking about dangerous jobs, you can end up wasting a lot of material and time if you're not careful.</p> <p>Are you the sort of person to measure twice, and cut once? Will you carefully study directions on how to install things correctly, or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants? Will you get frustrated quickly when things don't seem to fit together perfectly? Will your project sit half-done for the next six months (or years)? Consider your own personality before tackling a major DIY job. Although if you aren't a meticulous and patient person, this might be a good challenge to help you grow in that aspect.</p> <h2>2. Is It Worth Your Time?</h2> <p>Yes, providing your own labor <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for" target="_blank">can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars</a> on a renovation project. But consider how much your time is worth. After over a year of renovating our home, my husband and I have adopted the motto, &quot;Everything takes longer than you think.&quot; If you're planning to DIY after a long day of work, consider that you may only have a couple of daylight hours every evening. Also, spending your time doing DIY jobs can take you away from spending valuable time with your family.</p> <p>On the other hand, working on DIY projects together can be a bonding experience for your family, especially if everyone enjoys working with their hands. And if you don't mind having a construction zone in your house for several months, the extra time needed to complete the project may not be an issue for you.</p> <h2>3. Do You Have the Tools?</h2> <p>Doing your own home renovation requires a lot of tools. Do you own, or can you rent or borrow the tools you need? If not, factor in the cost of buying the requisite tools into the cost of the project. Even rentals can cost quite a pretty penny, especially over several days while you learn how to use the tool in the first place. It might be worthwhile to hire in a contractor who brings in his own tools and can knock out the project in a couple of hours.</p> <h2>4. Do You Have the Skills?</h2> <p>Sure, those TV shows make DIY seem like a breeze, but believe it or not, many home renovations take skill. If you're a very handy person, you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-home-improvement-10-free-options-for-training-and-advice" target="_blank">may be able to acquire those skills</a> in the process and produce something that at first glance approaches professional quality. In many cases, however, your project may end up looking a little &quot;too DIY.&quot; If you don't have an intuition for how things work, an eye for symmetry, and decent hand-eye coordination, DIY might not be for you.</p> <p>Consider whether you can handle skilled jobs such as cutting and installing tile, leveling concrete, and drywalling. For example, my husband and I put up new drywall in our master bedroom. We completed it, but smoothing on drywall mud was a much more laborious and difficult job than we expected (and to this day there are still minor imperfections in the drywall seams). When it came time to tackle the drywall for the family room, we hired a contractor. For a few hundred dollars, he did a beautiful, professional job, and only took one day (it would have taken us a week or two).</p> <h2>5. What's the Worst That Could Happen?</h2> <p>If you're new to DIY, ask yourself what the worst-case scenario could be before you tackle a new project. If it's something with relatively low stakes, why not try it out?</p> <p>Painting your front door or building a coffee table from scrap lumber are fun projects, and if they don't turn out perfectly, it won't really affect your home that badly. However, trying to install your own marble countertops could turn out very badly if you end up breaking a thousand dollars worth of stone. Roofing your own house could turn out extremely badly if you fell and broke your neck. So start small.</p> <h2>6. Do You Understand Workplace Safety?</h2> <p>Every year, <a href="http://news.consumerreports.org/home/2011/06/the-five-most-common-do-it-yourself-accidents.html" target="_blank">thousands of DIYers</a> are blinded, lose fingers, inhale noxious chemicals, fall off ladders, or are otherwise hurt or injured while working on a project for their home. Be informed on the necessary safety precautions to take. Invest in good safety glasses, filtering masks, gloves, and clothing.</p> <p>The considerations above aren't to discourage you from attempting a DIY project. However, it may be wise to start small and work up to a larger project. Doing your own DIY can also be a great opportunity to grow as a person &mdash; to become more patient, more detail-oriented, and to see a task through to completion. And while some jobs may be best left to the pros, others can be successfully tackled by amateurs like us!</p> <p><em>Have your home DIY efforts been successful? Have they been failures? Tell us about them in comments!</em></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/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you">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-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</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/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-spruce-up-your-unfinished-basement-for-under-100">10 Ways to Spruce Up Your Unfinished Basement for Under $100</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/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes">Like DIY? Avoid These 10 Costly Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home Personal Development budget home projects home renovation Home repair maintenance Tue, 21 May 2013 10:00:32 +0000 Camilla Cheung 974178 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Save Money on Gas http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-money-on-gas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-save-money-on-gas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4963701709_1d4d2d8961_z(1)-1.jpg" alt="Save Money on Gas" title="Save Money on Gas" 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 some awesome articles on saving money on gas, how keeping a budget can improve your finances, and creating a will.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moolanomy.com/6265/improve-gas-mileage-and-save-money-on-gas/">19 Ways to Improve Gas Mileage and Save Money on Gas</a> &mdash; To improve your gas mileage, take the roof rack carrier off your car. [Moolanomy]</p> <p><a href="http://genxfinance.com/10-ways-keeping-a-budget-can-improve-your-finances/">10 Ways Keeping a Budget Can Improve Your Finances</a> &mdash; By keeping a budget, you will have an easier time achieving your goals. [Generation X Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/its-time-to-create-a-will/">It's Time to Create a Will</a> &mdash; When creating a will, the first thing you must do is get your financial documents in order. [Consumerism Commentary]</p> <p><a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/lottery-winners-inheritances-maybe-even-you/">5 Smart Moves for Lottery Winners, Inheritances, &amp; Maybe Even You</a> &mdash; If you find yourself with a bunch of unplanned for money, use it to become debt free. [Money Smart Life]</p> <p><a href="http://moneyning.com/housing/tips-to-make-sure-you-get-your-security-deposit-back/">Tips To Make Sure You Get Your Security Deposit Back</a> &mdash; Want to get your security deposit back when you move out of your apartment? Fill out the condition report and take pictures. [MoneyNing]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/what-to-do-after-a-conference/">5 Ways to Maximize Your Post-Conference Experience</a> &mdash; After you attend a conference, remember to document your business expenses. [Cash Money Life]<a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/lottery-winners-inheritances-maybe-even-you/"><br /> </a></p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Find-Time-Vote-Election-Day-24933859">How 9-To-5ers Can Make Time For Voting</a> &mdash; If you want to make time for voting in the upcoming election, sign up for an absentee ballot. [SavvySugar]<a href="http://beingfrugal.net/good-reasons-to-take-more-risks/"><br /> </a></p> <p><a href="http://www.thewisdomjournal.com/Blog/23-signs-of-an-impending-business-failure/">23 Signs of an Impending Business Failure</a> &mdash; It's not a good sign if a business doesn't have budget meetings or if it has a bad board. [The Wisdom Journal]</p> <p><a href="http://beingfrugal.net/good-reasons-to-take-more-risks/">3 Good Reasons to Take More Risks</a> &mdash; Taking more risks can allow you to grow more personally. [BeingFrugal.net]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/what-children-can-learn-from-the-election">What Children Can Learn From the Election</a> &mdash; Your child can learn about responsibility from the election. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-money-on-gas">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-bank-of-gasoline-0">The Bank of Gasoline</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/save-money-on-gas-free-ebook">Save money on gas + free ebook</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/it-bear-repeating-driving-slower-saves-you-money">It Bears Repeating - Driving Slower Saves 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/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage</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/7-ways-to-earn-extra-money-with-your-car">7 Ways to Earn Extra Money With Your Car</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation best money tips car gas maintenance Tue, 18 Sep 2012 09:48:41 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 954551 at http://www.wisebread.com