Maybe a little inspiration, maybe not.

Here are a few fun links I’ve been enjoying:
ASL Browser
Home Depot pamphlet, how to save on energy.
Sprinkling made easy.
Shiitake Mushroom log.
Among others, which you can view in my del.icio.us feed.
Although the cost of heating our home hasn’t put us in the category of dire need – it has doubled. We’ve been on our energy companies “Budget plan” since we’ve been subscribers to their gold and it’s really helped keep things from getting out of hand on a month to month basis. I highly recommend being enrolled in one if your energy company offers a program. You don’t get slammed in the winter months with $300 bills because you’ve been paying a little extra throughout the summer to cover those costs.
Last year our budget plan was $53 a month – and we had to pay in $296 in Dec to cover the hike in costs, this year our budget plan is $97. Hopefully at the end of this year we’ll get a small refund check instead of having to pay in – but it beats coming up with an extra mortgage payment amount to cover heating our home.
Which is why I have a sudden interest in cutting energy costs – we bought a programmable thermostat, we’ll be putting some extra installation in the attic and possibly along the garage walls to keep the entry room, which has no heat whatsoever, from getting so cold that my pantry items are actually frozen.
Replacing the windows in the bedrooms would help tremendously as well – but by the time we pay for that we’re not saving money in the long run. Maybe next year or in the next 5 years.
I’ve also been reading a very good book – I picked it up for $2 at a store closing sale, it’s written alot like Freakonomics in that there’s alot of data that is over looked when a family decides to be a two earner home. Most families get stuck in a bidding war for housing in the right school district which causes the middle class home to put both parents in the work force which leaves a gaping hole in their security factor.
What happens when an elderly family member becomes sick – who takes care of them – or when a child becomes ill – or cancer is diagnosed in a family – with one parent tending to the needs of the family, whether or not a FML program is offered in the work place – the income is cut in half – the only thing the middle class family didn’t count on is that although the income is slashed, their monthly obligations are still in need of both incomes. (Mostly due to the high cost of owning a home)
Long summary made short – I was always an advocate of owning versus renting being that I have a small background in Real Estate – but after reading this book I’m more for renting when you’re waging the pros and cons of home ownership and what size of mortgage you’re actually going to be carrying. Not only are you responsible for the monthly mortgage, the tax the insurance and possible some private mortgage insurance – you also have to take care of anything that breaks or needs repair. You’re responsible for the up keep and the TLC a home requires.
Most banks, when qualifying you for a mortgage will say you can “afford” to pay up to 36% of your gross income in mortgage (taxes and insurance included) costs. Where as, realistically, those numbers should really reflect 12-15% gross income.
Anyway – that’s all I have to say. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Maybe a little inspiration, maybe not.

  1. Nice outline of the book you’re reading. You should talk more about what you’re reading. I live with ya and I don’t even know all the stuff you’re learning.

  2. that’s interesting. my mum-who is an accountant-recently told me that for one of the classes she took, they had to figure out what was truly better-renting or buying. she said that in almost all scernarios renting is better than buying for exactly the reasons you stated in your 2nd to last paragraph.
    it’s too bad that hardworking people have to struggle so hard to just own some property&ahome…

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