How to Save Money When Designing a House

No investment’s more important than a home investment. When you’re trying to design and build a home, you’re making one of the most important financial decisions of your life. It’s a very expensive endeavour. This is why it’s so important that you make all the right choices and come out of this investment without going bankrupt. Here are some tips to save a bit of cash when designing your home.

Think long and hard about hallways

There’s something about hallways that makes them rooms, but not quite. They’re definitely useful additions to any home, but how much is too much for a simple hallway? You don’t really need a lot of hallways space for your home, and it’s pretty much dead space. Do you remove them outright to add useful space?

Not so fast. Hallways can be great for introducing useful vertical spaces and to create a sense of guiding in your home. If they lead to an important room, you can set up ornaments and make them more attractive. It really depends on your house type, but removing and adding hallways can be an effective way to improve the design. It really depends on how you normally use vertical wall spaces in your home, and whether or not you need more of them.

Choose the land positioning wisely

Depending on where you live, you might get a lot of sunlight, or hardly any at all. This might seem like It’s only important when it comes to shopping for coats, but there’s a lot more to consider. Namely, you need to figure out how to orient your home’s windows.

If your living room gets the brunt of sunlight from the west or east and you live in a hot climate, you’ll have to pay quite the AC bill to keep it cool. Why not simply orient your home’s room and windows in such a way so that you keep heating or cooling more efficient, depending on the season? Consult your architect for this step, as it could save you lots of money in the long run.

Pick the right materials for the job

Every house building project will require some specifications. What materials do you want to use in a particular room? How much material do you need for a certain area or section? Before contractors can get down to this, you need to make sure you have it sorted out.

Finding durable building products is pretty difficult in many cases. Do you go for a wooden construction or stick with concrete as much as possible? It depends on your preference. All you really need is a reliable supplier with good materials and you’re set to go. The rest can be handled with the help of your builders and architect.

DIY where you can

Some parts of the construction project aren’t too difficult for the average layman. Adding kitchen cabinets and securing shelves is a pretty simple DIY job. You can probably handle it with ease as long as you have the right tools.

Why let the contractors do the paint job? It’s something people have been doing on their own homes for decades. If you have the time, you can grab a bucket and brush and just start going at it. It’s going to save you a pretty penny and you won’t get bad results.

Conclusion

There are lots of ways to save some money when building your home. It’s important that you know where so that you can utilize some of these methods. Consider the above examples as a starting point. They’re going to come in handy when you get started on your home

5 Signs Your Current Lifestyle Will Lead to Your Financial Demise

Your lifestyle is very closely tied to your finances, as it often indicates how much you spend. Living frugally or spending with abandon are two very different lifestyle experiences, and the results of each will clearly show in your bank balance.

Here are five signs that mean you are heading for a cliff edge in terms of your financial situation.

1. You’re not saving 5%

Advice from experts suggests that you should be putting aside at least 10% of your income each month, if not 15%. But if you aren’t even managing to put 5% in your savings, then you are definitely living beyond your means. It’s even worse if you haven’t been able to put any savings aside at all.

If you feel like you can’t save that much each month, then you may need to cut back on your spending. Maybe that means not going out to dinner, limiting yourself to non-luxury items when shopping for groceries, or cutting back on some of your subscriptions. If you’re already living as frugally as possible and still not making savings, then the truth of the matter is that you’re simply not earning enough. Downsizing your home and looking for another source of income could be the solution in this case.

2. You don’t have an emergency fund

Everyone should have an emergency fund – again, experts recommend that you have around nine months’ worth of living expenses set aside, the minimum amount of money you would need to live during that time if you didn’t have any income at all. Why? Because life happens. You might find yourself unable to work, or suddenly lose your job – even if you have been an exemplary employee so far. You could crash your car and have your insurance fail to pay out, or lose your home in an accident which is not covered by your policy.

Vet bills, medical bills, legal fees, a broken-down car or boiler – these are all expenses which can come up from time to time and really knock you for six. You need to be prepared for these situations. If you aren’t, then you could have a nasty surprise waiting around the corner which could leave you bankrupt or in heavy debt.

3. You’re paying overdraft fees (or credit card fees)

It came to the end of the month, and you didn’t have quite enough to get you through to the next payday. Now you’ve got overdraft charges on your account – or you might even have credit card fees to pay until you pay them off. This is a bad situation, as it is the beginning of a spiral into debt. In both situations, you are being charged extra money because of the fact that you didn’t have enough to begin with.

When this happens, you should see it as a huge red flag and stop spending right away. Don’t be tempted to put more things on a credit card.

An interesting technique you can use is to stop paying with your card at all, and instead use a cash envelope system. Withdraw your money for the week or the month, and divide it into envelopes for specific purposes: groceries, shopping, going out, and so on. When the envelope is empty, you just have to stop spending in that category – simple as that.

4. You don’t have a budget

Not having a budget in place might seem fine when you have enough money to make ends meet easily. However, it’s a problematic situation to be in when one of those emergency situations strikes. Suddenly, you are spending far more than you can afford, and you have to suddenly put on the brakes to try and learn how to budget for the first time.

Set a budget now, and learn how to stick to it, as well as what constitutes a realistic budget based on your spending habits. This will help you a lot when changes in your situation occur.

5. You spend out of fear

Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is something that can drive us to spend money on crazy things. Do you really need that new piece of Victorian furniture, or are you just scared that you’ll never get another chance like that again? Don’t let fear dictate your spending. Don’t overspend on going out just to keep up with your friends, or buy a house you can’t afford the payments on because you want people to be impressed. It’s a road to nowhere.

By recognizing these signs and making changes now, you might be able to turn things around. Don’t let the worst happen – get in control of your lifestyle now, and stop your finances from suffering.

About Alana: Alana Downer is a personal finance expert and an avid blogger, who often shares her money tips and tricks online. Alana is also a part of the team behind Learn to Trade – a useful resource for all those who wish to start trading and investing. Should you have comments or questions, feel free to contact Alana on her Twitter.

Saving Money The Victorian Way

header1Now we’ve rung in the New Year, many of us will be looking at our bank balances and feeling twinges of regret about our overspending during the holiday period.  According to Forbes Magazine, consumers who took on additional debt this holiday season added an average of $1,003 to their balances. The burden of debt can have a huge impact on both our emotional and physical wellbeing, leading to stress, anxiety, and sleepless night.

If you’re struggling with debt, or have simply overspent and would like to tighten your belt in order to get your budget back under control, then why not look to our Victorian past for a huge wealth of fun ideas on how to save money? Frugality and resourcefulness are both key buzzwords for describing the lifestyles of most Victorians, regardless of their class and social status. Victorian people made do with what they had and were incredibly resourceful when it came to finding what they needed without expense.  Here are some ideas on how you can adopt this philosophy to suit your own lifestyle:

Repair Rather Than Replace

Victorians didn’t have wardrobes overflowing with clothes in the way that so many of us do: they certainly didn’t feel the need to wear a new outfit for every social occasion they attended. Clothes were not purchased off the rack: each gown worn by a woman, for example, would be made either by a professional seamstress or (if finances didn’t allow) hand sewn at home. As a result, dresses were often repurposed and updated to suit changing fashions, and repaired when they were showing signs of wear, rather than simply discarded. Modern money savers can learn a lot from this Victorian model: why not learn some simple sewing techniques? It is much more cost effective to replace a button than buy a new coat, and small holes in garments can be repaired very simply with minimal skill and technique. By repairing rather than replacing clothes, and other items around the home, you’ll be amazed at how much money you can save: that money would be much better spend on removing the burden of your debt and living a debt free life than on continued consumerism and things you don’t really need .

Ditch Your Car

Very few Victorians had their own personal transportation: the Victorian era was the era in which public transport became more easy and convenient to use than ever. Regular buses, trams, and even a rudimentary underground railway system (which would later become the subway) were all established during the Victorian era. Taking public transport is easy, cost effective, and what’s more it’s also great for the environment. Contrary to popular belief, nearly all forms of public transport pose less of a cost to the average commuter than driving and, thanks to increasing congestion and traffic, you can often reach your destination much faster if you are travelling by public transport too. Why not ditch the car (at least for a couple of months) and see how much money you could save on gas, parking, and car maintenance expenses? You might even find that taking public transport is so convenient that you never want to jump in your car for simple journeys again!

Grow Your Own Vegetables

Why not make like a Victorian and use your backyard space to grow something useful, such as vegetables? No matter how big or small their outdoor space, the Victorians often utilized this to grow vegetables in order to ensure they had access to a nutritious meal without having to spend any more. What’s more growing your own vegetables is a fun and inexpensive hobby that you can involve the whole family in, and it provides a great lesson for children about where food comes from, as well as encouraging them to spend more time outdoors. Carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and cucumbers are all very simple to grow for a beginner, and you will soon be able to eat and enjoy the fruits of your labour, whilst watching your grocery store bills decrease as a result. Have a large yard and enjoy the idea of growing your own food? Why not consider buying some chickens and a small chicken coop: much cheaper to own as a family pet than a cat or dog, when you own chickens of your own you will always have a ready supply of eggs for breakfast!

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