Category Archives: SMALL WAYS TO SAVE MONEY

Can You Cut Costs & Be Safe with a Space Hwater?

As we type this it is a warmer winter day- although the sky is gray and it is a little damp feeling…today is the type of day your mother would tell you to put a sweater on because she is cold.  And that thought is what prompted today’s post- if someone in the house is cold, but not everyone – does it warrant a thermostat increase, a sweater or a space heater for certain rooms? 

The humble space heater gets a bad rap, but when used correctly it can actually represent a good option for taking the edge off the winter chill. download

 

Here are some tips about how to safely use a space heater and when it’s a good choice:

Are you heating a whole house when the family is concentrated in the living room? Turn down the central heat and use a modern space heater rather than heat the empty rooms.

  1. A space heater can be a wise choice when you live in an uninsulated or poorly insulated home.
  2. Avoid unvented combustion space heaters. Instead, look for electric space heaters, preferably with a fan to circulate the hot air.
  3. Never plug a space heater into an extension cord.
  4. Maintain three feet of clear space around the heater in all directions. Be aware of loose rugs, blankets, or other potentially flammable objects nearby. spaceheatersafety
  5. Unplug your space heater when no one is around to keep an eye on it.
  6. Do not use a space heater in a damp room (i.e. bathroom!) unless it is specifically designed for outdoor or bathroom use.
  7. Don’t hide the space heater electrical cord where it might get torn or degraded under foot. Run it where it is visible, but does not create a tripping hazard.
  8. If you’re shopping for a space heater, consider this handy Consumer Reports buying guide: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/space-heaters/buying-guide.htm

 

By the way: Heating and cooling a large home after the kids have moved out can be a waste of your retirement dollars. If you’re thinking it might be time to downsize (or rightsize!) your home, get in touch today:  we are never too busy for you or your referrals!   Barbara & Gregg 973-509-2222

 

 

 

Eliminate Junk Phone Calls with Nomorobo

We’ve all been there. You’re just sitting down to dinner or your favorite Netflix binge and the phone begins ringing. hang-up If you’re like most people, you’ve probably gotten used to screening a lot of calls because so many are robocalls. You know the kind and you know the drill: Political ads, solicitations, scams. You pick up saying “Hello? Hello?” and then comes that eerie pause which tells you you’re about to hear a pre-recorded message.

It’s a rude waste of your attention, and yet many of us can’t just get rid of our home phone line. While you can ignore the call, often they call multiple times a day or every day of the week at the same time. The problem is widespread.

 In early 2013 the FTC held a contest to combat the scourge of robocalls. The winner of that contest was Nomorobo, a free service which can check incoming calls to your phone lines against a massive blacklist database of known robocall sources. If Nomorobo detects a robocall, it screens the call much like the way internet web forms use CAPTCHA graphics to make sure you’re human. If the caller is a bot, the call never makes it to your phone. nomorobo (Nomorobo will ring your phone once to let you know a call has been blocked.) Bingo! Peace and focus are preserved.

 

 The service is free, but your phone provider must be able to provide a feature known as “Simultaneous Calling.” The Nomorobo website provides a form which quickly allows you to determine if your carrier already provides this service. If not, you can request it be added.

 You can learn more about Nomorobo here:  xlarge   

 We love to share tips and tricks to make our lives more hassle-free. If you’d like to keep up with tips like these as we find them, get in touch with us today: Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square realestate@thenicholasteam.com   973-509-2222 and we will happily add you to our monthly newsletter!

Making Your Move Light by Rightsizing Your Stuff

Where will we put all of our stuff?”

This is one of the foremost questions on homeowners’ minds when they’re making a move. Whether it’s a relocation from a suburban to a city environment, or downsizing for a more comfortable retirement, “stuff” can cast a big shadow. To lighten the burden before the big day, it can be helpful to “rightsize” for your move far in advance. Not only will rightsizing save you time, money, and energy as you transition to a new home, it can also help you learn how to evaluate what you really need versus what you’ve been hanging onto for no good reason.

If you’ve compared your current floor plan to your new one, you’ve probably already made the determination that some things must go. But how do you winnow the pile? Here’s a set of criteria you can use to rightsize your possessions:

1. Is this right for the weather? If you’ve lived in places with severe winters ansnowballbbq1d you’re heading for a zero-snow climate, recognize what doesn’t fit and let it go.

2. Is this right for the lifestyle? Your massive outdoor grill and patio furniture may be a waste if you’re settling into a city high-rise. The same might even be said of a second car or recreational vehicle.

3. Is this expensive to move? Some items cost more to move than replace. This is especially true if the item forces you to upgrade the size of your moving truck.

4. Is this something I really use? If you’re in a storage space looking at stuff you haven’t touched in six months or a year, you probably don’t need to transport it to your new space. 

5. Is this going to look out of place? Sometimes a new house will make old furnishings and objects seem tacky or trashy. Imagine where you’re going to move it and see if you can do without.mismatched furniture

Once you’ve decided something should go, it’s a simple matter of deciding if it’s a “sell,” “donate,” or “ditch” item. While the income from selling items may be appealing, be sensitive to how much time you have before the move. If time’s short, gifting items to friends, charity, or even the dump is a reasonable way to go.

Ready to look for your rightsized home? Let us help: Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX VILLAGE SQUARE REALTORS  973-509-2222 ext. 1126   RealEstate@TheNicholasTeEam.com

Why LEDs are a practical lighting solution for the home

Do you want to make your home as energy efficient as possible, but you find the light from CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights) unappealing? It’s time to take a new look at modern LED lighting.

Advancements in LED lighting have completely changed the face of energy efficient lighting. When they were initially developed, LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) were solid bulbs first limited to single-bulb use. Gradually manufacturers began to cluster these bulbs to create more powerful light sources for flashlights and directional lighting. Now, however, advancements in clustering, lens design, and positioning have made these bulbs suitable replacements for almost any home lighting scenario.

While they used to be very expensive, research breakthroughs as recent as 2009 made the manufacture of LEDs drastically cheaper. With this breakthrough, LEDs rapidly became competitively priced with CFL bulbs.

Benefits of LED lighting include:

  •  High durability: While traditional bulbs have a filament which is fragile and subject to damage, LEDs handle shocks extremely well.
  •  Lower temperature: LEDs run cool, producing significantly less than 4 btus/hour, compare to more than 80 btus for incandescents. This is a real plus in the summer months when ambient heat from lighting can build up.
  •  Longevity: LEDs can live ten times longer than CFL bulbs and outstrip even the heartiest of incandescent bulbs.
  •  Energy efficiency: LED bulbs typically draw between two and 17 watts of electricity. CFLs and incandescent lights can consume three to thirty times more energy.
  •  Both cool & warm light available: Advancements have made it possible to choose “cool” lighting for big, task-based areas of the home and “warm” for accent lighting and more cozy applications.
  •  Standard, dimmable, and 3-way available: Many people don’t realize that there are LEDs now for a full range of switching applications and don’t necessarily require switch replacement (i.e. for dimmable applications).

If you’re looking for greener choices with a long-term benefit to your bank account, consider LEDs.

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