Buying a new home? Don’t skip these important questions

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Buying a home is one of the largest and most impactful investments you’ll ever make. 

Luckily, it’s also one of the safest investments you can make. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your due diligence. Although there are mandatory disclosure laws in place to protect home buyers from big, hidden problems, you want to do everything you can to make sure your future home is the right fit for you. Fail to ask the right questions, and you risk joining countless home buyers who end up with buyer’s remorse.

Although the right real estate agent will know what to ask, it’s important you know what to look for, too. Here’s a comprehensive list of questions you should ask before you sign on the dotted line.

Related : How do I sell my house fast for cash?

1. How long has the house been on the market?

The longer a home is on the market, the lower its chances of selling. Sellers and their agents know this, so if the home you’re looking at has been sitting on the market for weeks or months, they’re going to be very willing to negotiate on the sale price. 

If a home has been on the market for longer than average for the local market, there’s a reason for that. Make sure you find out if there are problems with the home before you submit an offer.

On the other hand, if the home has just hit the market, you might be able to grab it with a fast, respectable offer. A lot of sellers just want to get the sale over with. And if there ends up being a lot of competition for the home, you can always improve your offer.

2. Have there been any price reductions?

A lot of price reductions, especially drastic ones, are an indication that the seller is very motivated to sell. Along with how long the property’s been on the market, this is also a strong indicator of how much interest there is in the property. 

If the seller has cut the price multiple times, it’s likely you’ll have a lot of leverage at the negotiating table — and they may be desperate to sell. However, if there haven’t been any price reductions, they may be very firm on their asking price. 

3. What was the previous sale price?

The previous sale price isn’t always revealing, especially if the seller has owned the property for a long time. But comparing a home’s past appreciation to the larger market (and the seller’s asking price) can give you a good idea of whether the property is properly valued and what kind of appreciation you might expect in the future.

4. Are there multiple offers on the table? 

If there are multiple offers on the house, that means your offer will have to be very strong to come out on top. If there’s strong competition, an offer that’s just OK will often be dismissed immediately. 

That said, don’t get caught up in the heat of the competition and dramatically overpay just because you want to win.

5. Have there been other offers?

If there have been no other offers on the property, that gives you a lot of leverage. The buyer is likely very motivated and would be open to offers that are below the asking price. How far below is a question you’ll have to take up with your real estate agent and will depend on the local market conditions and the property itself. 

6. How much have comparable homes sold for in the neighborhood?

Valuing a home is more of an art than a science, and a big part of coming up with a number is looking at similar sales in the area. Looking at the record of recent sales is a huge part of how your lender will appraise the property’s value and is probably how the seller set the asking price.

Your agent can provide a list of similar, recently sold properties to give you an idea of how to approach negotiations.

7. How hot or cold is the local market?

In a very hot market like San Francisco or Washington, D.C., competition is high even for less-desirable properties. On the other hand, in a cold market, even desirable properties can sit on the market for a while before finding a buyer.

As a rule, sellers have more leverage in a hot market, and buyers have more leverage in a colder market.

Understanding your local market dynamics can make you a much more effective negotiator — and maybe even save you thousands of dollars.

8. What is the ratio of the asking price to the market value?

The ratio of the asking price to the market value is going to tell you how aggressively the property is priced and what kind of market the seller expects.

If the asking price is far above the market value, the seller likely believes there will be multiple bids and that the home is going to appreciate rapidly in the future. It’s up to you and your real estate agent to figure out if the asking price offers reasonable value, or if it’s overpriced.

If the asking price is below market value, then the seller is likely desperate to sell their home. This could mean they simply want to get the sale over with or that there are flaws in the home. Make sure you figure out why the home is underpriced!

9. Why is the seller selling their home?

Most sellers are leaving for personal reasons, but some may be selling because of factors that could affect you. If there are noise issues, escalating property taxes, or a troublesome homeowners association, you should know about it before you move in.

The seller’s reason for leaving could also give you negotiating leverage. For example, if they’re starting a new job across the country on the first of the month, they’ll probably be very motivated to get the sale done.

10. Have there been any major renovations or additions — and were they properly permitted?

If there was major work done on the home, you’ll want to make sure it was properly done and permitted. Unpermitted work that doesn’t meet local codes can get you in hot water with the local authorities, and you may even be forced to tear out the unpermitted work. Your homeowners’ insurance policy may not cover unpermitted areas of the home, either. 

If you do find out that there was unpermitted work done on your future home, you can ask the seller to fix it before the sale, purchase as is (with a price adjustment) or walk away.

11. What exactly comes with the house in the sale?

As a rule, fixtures such as faucets, showerheads and cabinets are included in a home purchase. But the seller may have other ideas. Make sure you spell out exactly what is and isn’t included in the sale — and don’t be afraid to ask the seller to throw in an appliance or two or even things like furniture pieces or artwork. Motivated sellers may even throw in a washer/dryer to close a deal.

12. Is the home located in a flood zone or in an area prone to earthquakes?

A standard homeowners insurance policy does NOT cover earthquakes or floods, so you may need to purchase separate coverage if you live in a flood- or earthquake-prone area.

Homeowners can buy flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and it’s legally required if your home is located in a federally designated high-risk flood zone. Earthquake coverage can often be added to a standard homeowners policy or bought as a separate policy.

13. What condition is the roof in, and how old is it?

The roof is probably the most expensive part of a house to replace, and once it starts to leak, it can quickly lead to massive damage.

A typical modern roof has a lifespan of 15 to 50 years, depending on the type; an older roof will likely require a moderate amount of regular maintenance. If your inspection determines there are problems with the roof, even small ones, your lender might require repairs before closing. Whether the buyer or seller pays for that is negotiable. 

14. What is the age and condition of the major systems and appliances?

You should ask about the plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems — when they were installed and if there have been any problems, for instance. If they’re at or near the end of their lifespan, make sure you’re including the cost of their replacement in your calculations.

If the appliances are included in your purchase, find out how old they are, if they’re still under warranty and if they’re easily repairable if they break down.

15. What health or safety hazards are present in the house?

Although hazards such as lead paint usually fall into the “mandatory disclosure” category, there are other hazards that sellers may not have to tell you about — but will disclose if asked. This could include things such as mold, radon gas, or air quality. If any of these are present, ask for documentation, and get an estimate for remediation services. 

16. What is the home’s history of homeowners insurance claims?

Ask the seller about past insurance claims, but also ask for a copy of the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report (it’s free, but only the present owner can request it). This document lists any homeowners insurance claims that have been filed in the past seven years in connection with the property. 

17. Are there any general problems with the house that don’t fall into the previous categories?

There are a lot of potential problems that may not fall into the mandatory disclosures. 

As with the previous question, trust but verify — ask the homeowner but also have a professional home inspection done. If flaws are discovered by the inspection, you could negotiate financial concessions or pre-sale repairs. And if your purchase agreement includes a home inspection contingency, you can walk away from the sale without losing any money.

18. Is the seller willing to pay for a home warranty?

A home warranty covers anything that breaks or malfunctions after the sale goes through. The seller typically pays for the home warranty, as it protects them from hassles and potential liability, but in a strong seller’s market, the buyer may have to pay for it.

19. What is your budget?

Before you even start looking, you should know exactly what you can afford. This doesn’t just mean the sale price of your future home; you should include costs such as insurance, taxes and future renovations or repairs. 

Understanding your budget — and showing up with documentation in the form of a mortgage preapproval — also means agents and sellers will see you as a serious, realistic buyer.

20. How would you describe the neighbors?

Your future satisfaction will depend on your community as much as your home. Make sure your neighbors are a good match for you in terms of sociability, schedule, noise, and child- or pet-friendliness. You can determine this by asking the seller or by walking around the neighborhood yourself to take in its vibe.

21. What is the character of the neighborhood?

This question can cover everything from traffic and crime to how residential or commercial it is and whether it’s an established neighborhood or one that’s rapidly evolving. 

22. Where are the nearest schools, and what are they rated?

This is a very important question for parents or soon-to-be parents. Even if there are schools nearby, they may not be as highly rated as you require, so you should be careful to find out where the nearest acceptable schools are.

23. Are there any nearby nuisances or quality-of-life issues?

Many things could fall into this category: frequent foot traffic, noise from nearby freeways or overhead flights, odors from power plants or factories, even a neighbor with noisy dogs or who throws late-night parties every weekend. 

24. Is there a homeowners association (HOA)? If so, what are its requirements?

If your future home is in an area with a homeowners association, there may be rules limiting what kinds of changes you can make to the exterior or even to the home’s landscaping. Most HOAs also require dues. Getting this information upfront can save you frustration down the line.

25. Where are the nearest vital services and amenities?

You’ll want to know where the nearest hospital is as well as things such as restaurants, shopping, green space, and access to mass transit. 

26. How long is the commute to the nearest city?

If you’re buying in the suburbs, you’ll want to know how long it takes to reach the nearest city, especially if a member of your household is going to commute. Make sure you get commute info for all transportation options — driving and mass transit. 

27. Is this a foreclosure or a short sale?

Getting financing can be complicated if you’re buying a foreclosure, at least for a limited period of time. If you’re planning on buying a short sale (when the seller owes more than the sale price), they’ll have to pay out at closing, which means they’re unlikely to concede anything on closing costs, pre-sale repairs, etc. 

28. How much will my closing costs be?

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, keep in mind that the sale price isn’t the extent of your financial obligations. You’ll also be on the hook for at least some of the closing costs, which average around 2-5% of the sale price. 

Closing costs are negotiable, but how much of them you’ll be able to get the seller to cover will depend on how much leverage you have, i.e. if it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market. Who handles your sale also has a huge impact on the fees and commissions you’ll have to pay.

Your lender is required to provide you a closing disclosure form three business days before closing; this form will tell you exactly how much you’ll have to pay in closing costs.

29. Is there adequate insulation in the walls and ceiling?

If you’re buying in an area with cold winters, you’ll want a well-insulated home, not only for your comfort but to keep your utility bills reasonable.

30. What kind of foundation does this house have?

Slab foundations are more common in contemporary construction but can crack, and it can be very difficult to access embedded plumbing or electrical systems if they need repair. Raised foundations allow easier access to these systems, but also provide space for mold or pests. The best foundation for your area will depend a lot on the weather conditions and how much moisture is present in the ground beneath your home.

31. Are there any foundation or structural problems with the home?

This is more of a question for your home inspector. Foundation or structural issues are fundamental problems that can be extremely expensive — or impossible — to remedy. 

32. Would a higher down payment qualify me for a lower interest rate?

It can be tough to come up with even more cash for a down payment, but lowering your interest rate can save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run. Talk to your lender about this, and make sure you crunch the numbers.

33. Can I buy points upfront to lower my interest rate?

Typically, each “point” you buy will lower the interest rate on your mortgage by one-quarter of one percent. This can significantly lower your monthly payment but, once you figure out your breakeven point for that upfront cost, usually only makes sense if you plan on staying in your home for several years. Talk to your lender about whether you can buy points, and if it makes sense for you!

34. How much will my monthly mortgage payment, and all associated costs, be?

It’s relatively simple to find out how much you’ll have to pay on your mortgage each month, but many first-time homebuyers don’t include costs like property taxes and homeowners insurance premiums, which can add hundreds of dollars to your monthly obligations.

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37 clever household hacks that will save you money & time

37 clever household hacks that will save you money & time

Many people want to find ways to save money, but they don’t want those savings to come at the sacrifice of everyday comforts and needs. However, there are many household hacks that can let you do both. 

No matter if you’re trying to limit your impact on the environment, be less wasteful or save some money and time, these 37 hacks from our contributors can help you accomplish your goals. 

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This may sound outrageous, but you shouldn’t waste your money on pricey loofahs or sponges. You can grow your own crop right at home.

This spongy member of the gourd family can even be prepared and eaten as a vegetable as well. In northern climates, you will want to start the seedlings indoors or in a small greenhouse to ensure the gourd fully ripens. If you try harvesting the luffa too early, it won’t last long.

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Keep your savings jar, or any type of piggy bank, in plain sight and in a location where you can access it often.

The more you see and access it, the more likely you are to work on tucking away your loose change. The old adage “out of sight, out of mind” oddly rings true in this case. If your savings jar is hidden and completely out of sight, the only thing it’s likely collecting is dust.

While it might not significantly increase your savings rate, a dollar saved is still a dollar earned.

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Glass jars from honey, jam, salsa or other condiments can be washed and reused as food containers. 

Clean the jars really well, and then soak them in hot water to remove the label. Once you have a clean, empty jar, you can use it for whatever you want! You can use the jars to store homemade dressings, sauces or toppings. 

You can also use them to store single-servings of soup or salad to use for lunch or a snack. It does not need to be used only for food storage. Glass jars are great for all types of storage purposes (paper clips, safety pins, etc.) and can also be used as a base for a kid’s craft.

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Although the chemicals found in our household cleaners have been diluted, factory recommendations for their use are still typically much higher than what is needed to provide sufficient cleaning. 

Using a quarter of what is recommended still gives you the clean you want while minimizing the build-up of the chemical, as well as your exposure to it. Using less than recommended also means you won’t use the product as quickly, saving you money. 

In fact, this method is recommended for any household chemicals since it can help you save money, your health, and the environment.

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Cut your own hair. Seriously, you can do it! 

When you’re looking to save money, reducing an ongoing expense like getting your haircut every three to four  weeks (men) or every few months (ladies) can be a huge money saver. While you can find cheap haircuts around you at about $15 a pop for guys and $25 for ladies, that’s a few hundred dollars you can also save annually. 

It isn’t hard to learn how to cut your hair. Simply buy some cheap hair cutting supplies at a local overstock store like a Tj Maxx. Practice on yourself or, even better, your kids!

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The cost of car ownership just keeps growing. But you can fight against this rising tide by completing simple car maintenance tasks yourself. 

For example, changing your air filter is a 10-minute task, and the filter costs $10. A mechanic could charge you up to $75. Other replacements are simple, too!

Windshield wipers ($20 and 15 minutes), spark plugs ($15 and  20 minutes) and oil changes ($30 and 30 minutes) are all tasks you can achieve in your own driveway or garage. 

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Use your kitchen whiteboard to track your progress toward goals. Any goal, big or small, needs the support of the entire household. So put your goals on location you pass every day to remind yourself to stay on track.

For example, if you plan to lose weight, the written goal motivates you and reminds other household members not to order pizza every night. Similarly, if you dream of retiring early, write down your plan in a shared location. Everyone is aware of it and can help you when you falter and need to make tough decisions.

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Do you know that feeling when you attempt to get a keychain open? It’s one of the most excruciating things, and it always hurts your nails or your fingers. 

Use a staple remover and place the sharp point between the keychain rings. Press down to spread the ring while you can change the keys easily. No will be fingers harmed in the process.

Doing this will improve your mood when you have to change keys and simplify your life going forward. No more damaged nails or frustration! Just get your staple remover out and let it do the work for you.

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It’s inevitable for many of us that our fridge and pantry fill up with leftover groceries. But rather than the occasional purge, create a habit one week each month to eat what you can round up in the kitchen instead of eating out or making another trip to the supermarket. You’ll also end up wasting less food.

Take the amount you don’t spend on food that week and put it in your savings account. You’ll be surprised how quickly your savings can add up!

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You spend way too much time working in your home office to be slumped over in half straining to read a tiny laptop screen. It’s well worth your time and money to spruce up your home office and make it more comfortable

Before adding anything, you should remember to periodically get up stretch, and look away from the screen. 

An uncomfortable workspace will affect not only your work production but also your health and wellbeing. Adding simple things such as a laptop stand, a larger monitor or a seat cushion will do wonders for your work-life and beyond!

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The best house hack you can give yourself is to ensure that your rooms, especially your bedroom, function as they should. A bedroom is a place of sleep. Develop good sleep hygiene for yourself and make your bedroom a relaxation zone. 

Specifically, this means no TV in the bedroom and no doing work in bed. Set a regular schedule to go to sleep and don’t eat a large meal close to bedtime (and definitely don’t eat in bed!). 

Instead, be sure that you eat your last meal at least one hour before. In addition, develop a routine that signals you are ready to relax, such as drinking soothing teas or doing some bedtime meditation. 

These sleep habits will make it easier for you to relieve stress, improve sleep and make your home the sanctuary it should be!

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Clearing out clutter is underrated. Not only is it great for your peace of mind, but it can also be great for your pocketbook.

While it is easier to just throw everything away, keep an eye out for items that can be donated or sold. Those old college textbooks may be worth reselling on Amazon, or that lamp you’ve had tucked in your closet would be a great donation to your local charity. 

And if you are lucky enough to find that old iPhone you misplaced, you can make $200 fast selling it online or in a Facebook group!

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Meal planning is a great way to reduce your grocery costs, cut down on your daily cooking time, and reduce the amount you’ll spend on takeout.

Take a few minutes each week before heading to the store to map out your lunches and dinners for the week. With a few hours in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, you can easily prepare a week’s worth of lunches and prep ingredients for dinner. 

Cooking dinner each night is then a simple process of cooking the pre-prepared ingredients.

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Painting your walls in neutral colors, such as white, beige and navy, can provide a calming effect. This is especially important in rooms meant for relaxation, such as bedrooms and living rooms. 

If you’re having trouble sleeping, it might not be you — it could be your bedroom’s red paint.

Not only can paint colors affect your mood, but certain paint colors can also make your home sell more quickly. Homes with bright paint colors or bold accent walls have more trouble selling because it’s harder for a buyer to see themselves in the home.

With neutral colors, on the other hand, buyers can more easily visualize themselves and their furniture in a room.

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Medications and supplements will last longer (and work better) if stored appropriately.  That means stable temperatures and low humidity.  If you’ve been  storing your meds in the same room as your bath or shower, that’s not the best idea. 

And don’t hide them away! Pick a spot in your house that you will see your medications and be forced to visually acknowledge them daily.

For safety reasons, consider a lockbox if you have kids in the house.  If you do have to hide your medicines, consider other reminder tools like printable medication reminder sheets for your refrigerator.  But make yourself visually acknowledge the habit in some way.

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Thought your kids’ scribbles on your white kitchen cabinet were permanent? Think again. With just a dab of toothpaste mixed with baking soda, you can erase just about any unwanted wall art. 

In fact, it also works to erase old pan stains, unwanted paint marks and more! It’s a much better and cheaper alternative to cleaning agents.

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Think about all the home improvements on your mind, both necessary and purely cosmetic. Now, consider what they might cost. If you’re like most who own or rent a home, it’s probably more than the change in your pocket. If that’s the case, you’re leaving money on the table by not financing those purchases and fixes with a credit card.

By opening a credit card with a decent sign-up bonus, you position yourself to not only be rewarded for home improvements but to possibly fund them entirely.

Credit cards can be a solid source of funds when it comes to airfare or even straight cash. Go ahead and give it a shot, then thank yourself with a free trip across the world funded entirely with the credit card points you’ve earned.

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Fresh bread gets moldy faster than you’d think. Sometimes, you don’t even get the chance to use a delicious loaf before it starts to mold. In order to save money on your favorite baked goods, freeze them! 

When you are ready to use a loaf, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up, then bake it in the oven for a few minutes. It’s as good as new, and you’ll never waste loaf again. 

You won’t save thousands of dollars by freezing your bread, but it is a great way to save a small amount of cash, and that can add up over time.

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Homes are a big purchase, which is why you want to make sure you protect your home. Unknown to many, anyone can open a garage from the outside. 

A thief can slide a wire hanger through an opening above the garage door and pull on the emergency cord. This cord disengages the door from the opener, allowing the door to be lifted manually from the outside.

Fortunately, the solution is to wrap the emergency cord around the trolley track. This method prevents any kind of pull from disengaging the opener while not hindering its function.

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It’s cheaper and healthier to cook your meals at home, but who’s got the time? Eight out of 10 homes already have the solution: a crockpot! 

Throw a handful of ingredients into a crockpot at the beginning of the day. While the kids are at school or you’re on a lunch break, a slow cooker transforms them into a delicious meal. 

Looking for recipes? Borrow crockpot cookbooks from your library to get started. While you’re there, check out all the other ways your local library can save you money, such as free passes to museums, in your area. 

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Freezing your credit is a simple process your entire household can do. The major credit bureaus have made freezing your credit free and easy to do. And you can lift the freeze at any time if you are applying for something that requires a credit check. 

But everyone should freeze their credit regardless if you’ve had identity theft issues in the past. It prevents thieves from opening bank accounts, credit cards, and more in your name. 

It won’t completely stop all fraud, but it’s an essential identity theft protection tip that takes a few minutes of your time that can save hours of headaches.

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If you ever need to make a homeowners insurance claim, it is critical to have documentation of everything you own. Rather than making a written list or keeping receipts in a separate location, take a video as you walk through your house and store it on the cloud.

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We all need to give presents to certain family members and friends on birthdays or holidays, but we don’t always have the money to do so.  

My kids used to give me coupon books saying they would do something nice for me.  You can use the same concept as an adult by mowing someone’s lawn, cooking a meal or walking a dog.

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For 10 years, I’ve been a homebrewer. I learned to make my own beer from scratch (the all-grain method) and have brewed, enjoyed and shared dozens of different beers.

If you’re not into beer, hard cider is actually much simpler to make. There are also options to have a home winery or meadery. 

There can be cost savings after you’ve recouped your initial investment in equipment. Either way, the satisfaction of imbibing your own creations is priceless.

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An easy way to reduce your electricity bill is to contact your electric company and see what energy-saving services and products they offer. Most offer free energy savings kits or upgrades, depending on eligibility. 

These can include things like LED lights, weather-stripping, clotheslines, high-efficient faucets and showerheads, smart thermostats and even energy-efficient appliances. Don’t forget to ask about rebate programs, too! 

People with low income may also be eligible for programs that automatically credit their bills or provide emergency financial assistance.

Be leary of any salespeople who claim they can save you money with a fixed rate for your natural gas and electricity if you sign a contract with them, as there are many energy reseller and retailer scams.

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If you’re like many people now working from home, the line between your personal and professional life gets constantly blurred. 

Sometimes, that lack of distinction can cause conflict with other folks that live with you. Fortunately, you can instantly boost the morale of your household by effectively managing your work schedule

How to Set a Freelance Schedule That Works for You

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One step you can take is to set fixed office hours. Unless there’s an emergency, you’re not to be disturbed. Your significant other, children, or roommate(s) can have your attention once you’ve completed the day’s work. Just make sure you honor the time you’ve carved out for them.

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Have your house smelling good all year long by making some DIY scents! While this may be an unusual saving habit, it comes at the extra benefit for a great-smelling home. All you need to do is take some fragrant smelling ingredients and simmer them in water. 

Citrus fruits hold up very well. Get creative with your combinations. Cinnamon sticks, cloves, oranges, bay leaves and vanilla extract can have your house smelling like a cozy autumn day any time of the year! 

The scents can be stored in airtight containers, such as festive mason jars, topped off with a box or tag. The scents are reusable up to three times. The initial batch of water will evaporate, so make sure to add hot water to the pot. These also make great DIY gifts.

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It can be a pain when you’re in a rush to get to school or work, but starting your day with this small ritual really sets your intention. Most difficult endeavors require discipline. 

Whether dieting, managing home finances or, in my case, swing trading and investing, playing your A-game each and every day is the only way to succeed. Making my bed in the morning really helps set me up for this success.

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This works especially well when you are making a dish like a casserole, when the accuracy of the temperature won’t have a big impact. If the recipe calls for one hour in the oven, consider turning off the oven 10 minutes early. The residual heat will be enough to cook the dish through. 

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An easy way to justify overspending on your home is to view it as an investment, but that is a slippery slope to travel down. Yes, your home is an asset. And yes, it should go up in value. 

But it’s not a replacement for a sound retirement and investment plan. In my opinion, it should be viewed more as an expense (mortgage, taxes, insurance, repairs) than an asset (equity).

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Cable TV is expensive! If you currently pay for cable, calculate how much each year you pay. Think of the next best thing to do with that money and actually do it! Examine how you’re spending your time and if television is benefiting you in the right ways. 

You can sign up for streaming services, like Netflix and Hulu, for a fraction of the cost of cable, or mooch off family or friends. See if your library has an app to rent ebooks and audiobooks for free. You may think that you’re being cheap, but really you’re being smart and frugal by spending your money in ways you want to.

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With so many of us spending a lot more time at home, total household expenses are through the roof! The first step is to review all your household expenses from food, cleaning supplies, toilet paper to subscriptions and more.

Then, set a daily target to spend 25% less on these items to potentially save hundreds of dollars a month. Remember, subscriptions are always negotiable. Just because you pay a set rate doesn’t mean you can’t swing a great deal and save some money.

Many people call themselves “cheap” and shake their heads when others “waste money” on high-end products. Obviously, if you’re strapped for cash, you just have to do what you can to get by. 

However, once you cross a threshold where you can actually afford a bit more, you should consider more luxury items.

To be clear, more expensive doesn’t always mean better, but it can often mean higher quality materials, better construction and nicer design. It’s often a better use of money to buy things like this and keep them longer.

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If you’re like me, you love to find discount deals on brand new things. In recent years, I’ve found Black Friday deals and seasonal sales to be a bit lackluster. 

However, I discovered amazing deals on Facebook Marketplace. For instance, I found a new litter box for my cat. It was priced at $50 from a local retailer, but someone was selling it for only $25!

I managed to haggle it down to $20 and bought it from her. She also mentioned she bought it for her kitten, but the box was too big for her. So, it was basically brand new!

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What’s really important to you? Instead of always choosing what’s on sale or being seduced by what’s hottest for the season, think about what values you and your household want to live by. 

It’s great to live in the moment but better to be more purposeful when you shop. Focus on items that bring your family together all year long.

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With a little bit of research, perseverance and elbow grease you can save a lot of money by completing house projects yourself

Personally, I have saved thousands of dollars by refinishing my deck, redoing our landscaping, installing a sprinkler system, replacing our garage door opener and so on. 

With so many resources online now, DIY has never been so easy. 

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You can actually negotiate down certain household bills with your service providers using the correct course of action. 

Apps like Trim make is incredibly easy for bills like your WiFi bill, where they do the negotiation for you so you never have to talk to anyone.

For most Trim negotiations, you’ll need a recent bill from your service provider. After signing up for Trim, you should be prompted to upload or provide the account number to Trim. Then, they take action on the next steps.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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Courtesy of Kenny Deus

Featured Image Credit: monkeybusinessimages / istockphoto.

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