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Posted by Diane Silva Realty & Associates, LLC on 9/25/2016

Although home ownership brings with it a lot of benefits, there are times when the cost of maintaining those benefits can seem pretty high. Fortunately, it's possible to control many of those costs with a little planning, organization, and research. When it comes to choosing service providers, home improvement contractors, or even retailers of major appliances, it pays to compare prices, features, and guarantees. Whether you're looking for a dependable swimming pool builder, a house painter, or a kitchen remodeling contractor, online customer reviews can provide valuable feedback and help steer you in the best possible direction. That, combined with a few other techniques for evaluating services and contractors, can help ensure that you make wise decisions you'll be satisfied with for years to come. Why Comparison Shopping Pays Off If it seems too time consuming or inconvenient to get more than one quote for a major purchase or home improvement, here are a few compelling reasons to reconsider your position:

  • Significant price variations: Getting multiple quotes can help put you in the driver's seat when it comes to controlling household expenses. It's all too easy to overpay on a product or service when you have no points of comparison. Even if you're just saving $50, that's hard-earned money that can be saved, invested, or spent on something else you and your family needs. It's amazing how much of a price variation there often is between providers of similar services. When you rely on one contractor, retailer, or landscaper to deliver the most value for your money, you're failing to look at the full range of choices. However, when you factor in other prices, customer service policies, payment terms, and features, then you're giving yourself the information you need to make the most economical decision. In many cases, that can translate into hundreds of dollars of savings, enabling you to keep more money in your pocket or bank account.
  • Comparing features and benefits: Once you start comparing things like customer reviews, price differences, guarantees of satisfaction, and value-added features, then one contractor, service provider, or manufacturer may quickly emerge as the clear winner. When it's an individual you're considering, such as a handyman, house cleaner, or plumber, things like experience, references, attitude, and work ethic can also make a big difference in your level of satisfaction.
  • Knowledge is power: One of the advantages of reading online reviews, getting at least three estimates, and comparing different proposals is that you become more knowledgeable about what you're going to be spending your hard-earned money on. This not only helps you make an informed decision, but it gives you the knowledge to communicate your expectations more clearly to the person or company who ends up getting your business.
One final benefit of comparing proposals and evaluating all the pros and cons of each offering is that you'll never have to wonder if you overpaid for the product or service you're getting -- whether it's home improvement, an HVAC installation, or a bi-weekly property maintenance service.





Posted by Diane Silva Realty & Associates, LLC on 4/24/2016

Everywhere you turn people are saying "go green". More and more people are looking for alternatives to heat and power their homes. One alternative is solar energy. There are both benefits and pitfalls to solar energy. The Benefits •Solar power is predictable. It is easy to predict how much electricity your system will produce because the amount of sunlight that hits your roof doesn't vary that much. This means it is also easy to predict how much you will save in electric bills. •Solar power will lower your electric bill. Solar power will offset the usage of conventional electricity especially in places where the price for grid power is high — like California, Hawaii and much of the northeast. •Solar power is safe and clean. Solar energy systems produce emissions-free electricity. •Installing solar panels may also help you qualify for a tax credit. For more information on energy tax credits click here. The Pitfalls •Solar power can be predictable but it is also variable. In other words, it can be predicted on a long term basis but not on a daily or even weekly basis. For example, solar panels won’t produce electricity at night. •Solar power can be a more expensive alternative in the short term. The price of solar panels continue to fall but there are many aggressive financing options. If your state has no tax incentives and electricity prices are relatively low solar would be an expensive option for you. •Some homes just don't work. The roof must be in good condition with an unobstructed southern exposure. If the house is surrounded by trees and tall buildings solar panels will probably not work. A ground-mounted system is an option only if you have sufficient space in your yard.





Posted by Diane Silva Realty & Associates, LLC on 12/27/2015

Money experts recommend having an emergency fund, however, that is easier said than done. You will want to have at least three to six months of living expenses in your emergency fund. Here are some tips on how to get there: Determine how much you need                                                                                               Calculate how much you spend each month. Add up your rent/mortgage, car payments, insurance, food and utilities. This will give you an idea of how much you will need to save. Start small If you find it hard to save, start by saving small amounts. Even if you only saved $20 per week for one year, you would increase your savings account by $1040.00 Have achievable goals                                                                                                                     Start with a small goal and gradually work towards a larger one. Set your initial goal of one month's savings and build upon that. If you start small and make savings a habit it will be easier to save. Make it automatic                                                                                                                           Set up automatic contributions to your savings account. Move a specified amount of money to your savings account through direct deposit. If you do this you may not even miss the money. Watch where your money goes                                                                                                 Keep track of how much money you spend. Calculate your spending average and try to spend less. Another great way to save is to find areas where you can cut back. What are some of your best tips for saving money?  





Posted by Diane Silva Realty & Associates, LLC on 12/6/2015

If you are looking for ways save money, cutting back on grocery expenses is often an easy way to reduce your spending. Here are ten tips to master frugal grocery shopping. A little planning can save you some big bucks over the long term. 1. Make a list. Before you head out to the store, prepare a list of everything you need, making sure you have everything needed for your weekly menu. Before you leave, check to make sure you don't have it in your pantry, fridge or freezer. Stick to that list and don't buy anything else. 2. Plan a menu. Plan a weekly menu for each week. This way you will know exactly what to buy. Be sure to plan a leftovers night. 3. Don't shop hungry. When you're hungry, everything looks good. When you shop hungry you'll end up spending a lot more. Eat first and then you will be able to stick to your list. 4. Set a budget. When you go to the store, know exactly how much you can spend. Then try your best to stick within that limit. Keep a running tally as you shop to ensure that you're within your budget. 5. Create a grocery spreadsheet. Keep your grocery receipts, then enter into a spreadsheet. This will be your price and comparison list. Use it so you know when bulk or sale items are a good deal. 6. Cook and freeze. Plan to cook a big amount of food and freeze it for multiple dinners. A great idea is to use one Sunday and cook a week's (or even a month's) worth of dinners. Plan 5-6 freezable dinners and cook them all at once. 7. Shop for specials. Every store has specials. Be sure to look for them in the newspaper, or when you get to the store. Don't buy things you don't use just because they are on sale; make sure you will use the items. 8. Buy store brands. Brand names are often no better than generic, and you're paying for all the advertising they do to have a brand name. Give the store brand a try, and often you won't notice a difference. 9. No "one-item" trips. They waste gas, and almost inevitably, you buy more than that one item. If you plan ahead, make a weekly menu, and shop with a list, this should drastically reduce the number of trips you make for a small number of items. 10. Stock up. Sale items can be a great deal. If it's an item you normally use, buy a bunch of them.





Posted by Diane Silva Realty & Associates, LLC on 11/29/2015

In today's economic climate protecting your financial health is more important than ever. From health insurance to your plans for retirement, there’s a lot to consider. Here are some tips from Family Wealth Management Group, LLC to help protect your assets and financial future. It is never too early to plan In order to plan, you need to know what you have. Review your pension plan, 401 (k), IRAs, Social Security benefits and other savings plans to assess whether they meet your long-term retirement goals and will generate an income stream to meet your projected expenses. Curb spending Time to take an inventory on how much you spend. Keep a log on trips to the market, afternoon lattes, dry cleaning and all of your miscellaneous spending. Try to eliminate a portion of these expenses. Once you track them you will realize you are spending more than you thought. Re-define your financial goals Ask yourself where you see yourself in five, 10 or 15 years. See if it is possible to redefine your goals. You may be able to retire earlier or pay for college. Set goals to achieve the things you want. Get help Professional advice about investment losses, financial products, insurance coverage and other important issues will help you make the right choices for your current financial situation.




Categories: Money Saving Tips  




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