Tips on Saving Energy Dollars in Your Home

A typical U.S. family spends more than $1,600 a year on home utility bills, yet making some simple changes around the home can save money and make heating and cooling systems more efficient, according to World Energy Solutions, a publicly traded energy services company based in St. Petersburg, Fla. By evaluating facilities and equipment, World … Continue reading Tips on Saving Energy Dollars in Your Home

A typical U.S. family spends more than $1,600 a year on home utility bills, yet making some simple changes around the home can save money and make heating and cooling systems more efficient, according to World Energy Solutions, a publicly traded energy services company based in St. Petersburg, Fla.

By evaluating facilities and equipment, World Energy Solutions (symbol: WEGY) helps businesses lower their utility consumption and maintenance costs and extend the life of their equipment.

“Many of the energy-saving strategies we use for our commercial customers can also be applied to the home,” says Benjamin Croxton, chief executive officer of World Energy Solutions. “There are many common-sense, low-cost and no-cost ways to lower your home energy use as well as many new technologies that can be applied to your home’s energy-consuming systems.”

Here are some tips from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy on things homeowners can do to make their homes more energy efficient:

* Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting.

* Use energy-saving settings on refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and clothes dryers.

* Use compact fluorescent bulbs, which can save three-quarters of the electricity used by incandescents. First to be replaced should be any 60-watt to 100-watt bulbs that are used several hours a day.

* Have your heating and cooling systems serviced in the fall and spring. Duct sealing can also improve the energy efficiency and overall performance of your furnace or central air conditioner.

* Clean or replace furnace, air conditioner and heat-pump filters.

* Assess your heating and cooling systems to determine if you should replace or retrofit them to make them work more efficiently to provide the same comfort, or better, with less energy.

“If your home’s central air-conditioning system is over 10 years old, a new state-of-the-art system can save you 30 percent or more of your home’s air-conditioning expense,” says George Walker, air-conditioning expert with World Energy Solutions.

Death And Taxes

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes
Benjamin Franklin

I, like many other good citizens from this great country of ours, left it to the very last moment to mail off this years tax return. As I entered the local post office and saw the long line, I once again promised myself that next year would be different. I really would make the effort to get them off before the last minute rush.

As I moved slowly towards the front of the line, I began wondering, in this day and age is this really the best system our great and wonderful leaders can come up with. After all, we now live in a world that allows a satellite miles above us to read a number plate. We can get the worldwide web on our cell phone, download TV programs that we may have missed or just want to save onto our iPods.

The original tax laws introduced in 1913 were a very simple affair. They began with tax brackets ranging from 1 to 7 percent – a far cry from todays levels. The IRS tax codes, regulations and guidelines now have well over 9 million words. No wonder there’s so much confusion. Is there truly anyone who really understands this monster. Lets put this into some form of prospective. The Declaration of Independence has a little more than 1300 words. The Constitution which has served us well for more than 200 years comes in around 5000 words and the Holy Bible makes do with less than 800,000 words.

The Office of Management & Budget estimated in 2004 that we as a nation spent over $200 billion on compliance cost. At a time when the nations manufacturing industries, the foundation of any good economy, are all struggling against cheaper imports, shouldnt our leaders be using that money to create Jobs for their citizens. Most experts agree that $200 billion would create well over 3 million jobs, which of course creates sales of consumable goods which creates more jobs and sales taxes.

From the moment we wake up in the morning we are being hit by taxes. Everyone is at it — turn on the light (electricity taxes), run the shower (utility taxes) and my personal favorite the telephone taxes, all 6 million of them, or that’s what it seems to me every time I receive a telephone bill.

Has the time come for a simple Flat Rate Tax, something we can ALL understand. There are many countries all over the world who have used this simple to understand and cost effective way of collecting taxes to revitalize their economies. Let’s just imagine for a moment what it would be like if we could complete our tax returns on one simple piece of paper. A Flat Rate Tax for individuals and a Flat Rate Tax for businesses. The same rules apply to all regardless of size of income. We all pay the same rate. Most of the successful countries have levied Flat Rate Taxes of less than 17%, with a stating level that protects the lower income groups. Could life ever be that simple again? Would our Leaders really want us to understand what they were up to? And then there’s those lobbyist. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

Have an opinon or a question you would like me to answer, then write me!

Home Mortgage – Reasons To Refinance Your House

Refinancing can have other financial benefits besides lowering rates. Locking in rates can protect you from higher rates, saving you money on future interest costs. You can also change your ARM for better caps to prevent huge monthly increases. Consolidating your bills with your equity saves on credit card rates while providing a tax advantage.

Protection From Future Rate Hikes

An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) provides the lowest rates for home buyers, but these rates can increase. Monthly payments can jump a couple of hundred dollars a month depending on market rates and loan caps.

For those planning to stay in their home for more than seven years, it is a good idea to refinance to a fixed-rate mortgage if rates look likely to rise. Fixed-rate mortgages offer security from future payment hikes, but with slightly higher rates than ARMs.

Trading In For Better Caps

Many ARMs offer initial low set rates that can change after a couple of years. Jumps in payments can be surprising, especially if you have less than favorable caps. Caps set limits on how much and how often your payments can increase.

Refinancing your ARM can help you negotiate lower caps. You can also find an ARM with set rates for several years, just like with your original mortgage.

Helping To Pay Off Your Loan

Early payment of your home loan saves on interest costs. For those you need a structured approach to make larger payments, refinancing for a shorter term may be the answer.

For instance, exchanging your 30 year mortgage for a 15 year mortgage can reduce your interest costs by almost half, even at the same rate. Even with the origination costs, early payment will still save you money.

Taking The Tax Advantage

Mortgage interest is tax deductible, unlike interest on other bills. Cashing out part of your equity to pay off bills can give you a financial edge to get ahead. Be sure to make refinancing part of your larger financial goals to enjoy the full benefits.

Investigating Lenders

Investigate lenders before you sign a contract to be sure you are getting the best financial offers. Ask about their APR to get a true understanding of the loan costs. Many financial companies post this information online, or you can request near instant quotes.

Give Me Some Credit!

Are you a small business owner, especially one that interacts frequently with the public, such as a real estate agent? Do you spend considerable time taking clients out to lunch, sending out flyers or other mail, or driving a lot in your business? If so, consider applying for a Chase Business Rebate Card.
This credit card has some wonderful advantages to consider. First, there is no interest for the first twelve months. That means that the business upgrades you have been considering can be done now, and paid for over the next year. Whether it is a new suite of software, a whole new computer system, or a new copier, you can put the purchase on your Chase Business Rebate Card and not be charged any interest for the entire next year. This allows you to be more efficient and also to relieve those worries about your current computer actually lasting another six months.
If you purchase the new computer or the new software at an office supply store, not only do you have time to pay for it, but you also get cash back rewards for purchasing it. The Chase Business Rebate Card gives 3% cash back for any purchases at an office supply store. This 3% cash back reward is also given for purchases at home improvement stores, hardware stores, restaurants, and gas stations. So, for people whose businesses have customer interaction similar to real estate agents, this card is wonderful, since the 3% rebate applies to many of the main items purchased. It is also wonderful for individual contractors and other building industry professionals that do a lot of purchases at building supply and home improvement stores. As with most rebate credit cards, you earn rebates for every purchase on the card, no matter what store it is used at. So even purchases at grocery stores would earn 1%.
The Chase Business Rebate Card is also set up to help business owners simplify running their business. There are on-line management tools available to use. There are free additional credit cards for your employees, so that each employee has access to the same rewards as they participate in the business. The Chase Business Rebate Card also has quarterly reports available on card use, so that the owner can keep track of what is being spent during each week of the quarter, to see how the monies are directed.