Ways to Save Money by Going Green

Contrary to popular belief, going green does not have to be hard or cost money, in fact it can even save you money.  There are many small things that you and your family can do within your home to save money while reducing landfill waste and the use of natural resources. Discover a few ways to go green and save some money by choosing a green home.

 

Compost Bin

Composting is free and can provide you with rich soil to garden with. You will never have to buy soil and can easily grow plants and vegetables.  To create your own bin, get a large trashcan with a locking lid, then drill about 25 holes all around the bin and attach the bin to small platform (allows it to drain).  Once you start putting approved items in the bin go outside and roll it around in the grass every few days.

 

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

You can save approximately $75 dollars a year by replacing your traditional incandescent with energy efficient light bulbs.  On average energy efficient light bulbs typically use way less energy and can last much longer, not needing to be replaced as much.

 

Laundry

There are quite a few options to save money and energy when it comes to laundry.  Here are a few: wait till you have a full load of laundry to wash, line dry your clothes, wash your clothes in cold water and when it comes time to get a new washer and dryer buy an energy efficient one.

 

Weather-Strip & Caulk

One of the main ways we use a lot of energy, especially in hot and cold climates, is through air-conditioning and heating. One way to reduce the use of heating and air-conditioning is to properly weather strip and caulk all windows and doors keeping your home cool and warm when needed.

 

Reuse and Reduce

Use items more than once when you can to avoid throwing them out; this might mean buying quantity over quality.  Another way is to join The Freecycle Network or Buy Nothing group on Facebook you can swap used goods with neighbors for free and also keeping more waste out of landfills.

 

DIY Cleaning

Start making your own cleaning products.  Not only can you customize, make them eco-friendlier but you will also save money buying products.  On average, most DIY cleaners cost less than a $1 to make per bottle compared to $5-$15 per store bought bottle.

 

Unplug & Turn Off

Put all your major electronics on a power strip and shut off when they are not in use.  Even if your electronics are shut off, they still will continue to draw electricity thought out the day.  Another tip is to make sure you unplug your cellphone when completely charged and always power everything down while not in use to save on battery life.

 

Toilet

There is an extremely easy way to make your toilet a low flow toilet.  Simply add a brick, wrapped in a waterproof bag or take a plastic water bottle and fill it with sand putting it into your tank.  This will reduce the amount of water with every flush. Once you are ready for a new toilet purchase a low-flush toilet.

 

Shower

Change up your shower head with an energy-efficient shower head that will use half the amount of water.  These shower heads are low flow but will significantly cut your water bill down.  Another option is to install a tap aerator which will also cut down water usage without changing the water pressure.

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How to Increase Your Buying Power

One of the best ways prospective home buyers can empower themselves when purchasing a home is to improve their buying power. The numbers may seem daunting but identifying ways to strengthen your financial standing will help you each step of the way.

 

When visualizing your dream home, it’s common for buyers to focus on the physical characteristics. But to mortgage lenders, a home is a numbers game. The following categories related to your buying power demonstrate how lenders identify your financial standing and determine your eligibility for a home purchase. Improvements in these areas will increase your buying power, propelling the strength of your offer when you’re ready to put it on the table.

 

How to Increase Your Buying Power

 

Increase savings for your down payment

 

As the saying goes, cash is king. The down payment—often 20% of the home’s sale price—can sometimes be the deciding factor between competing offers for a particular home.

 

Try stashing away a little of each paycheck to build up your savings over time. Set a savings goal, commit a dedicated amount to each pay period, and watch the savings build as time goes on. If you prefer to keep your money separate, open a new account to which you can dedicate the added savings. Another way to save for your down payment is to generate additional income. If you have interest or experience in an area outside of your current job, explore opportunities for part-time work and dedicate the income earned to your down payment savings.

 

There are numerous benefits to offering a serious down payment. Putting 20% or more down can help your offer stand out, it may allow you to negotiate a lower interest rate on your mortgage and could remove the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI).

 

Improve your credit score

 

Plain and simple—a better credit score leads to better interest rate on your mortgage. Your payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, credit mix, and new credit all factor into your credit score. Although improving it will not happen overnight, a higher credit score will pay dividends in the long run.

 

To improve your credit score, focus on paying down your credit cards, especially those with high interest. Refrain from opening new lines of credit that aren’t necessary and stay away from large purchases leading up to the time when you are preparing to make an offer. Keep in mind that student loans factor into your financial picture. Paying them off consistently will improve your financial standing in the eyes of lenders.

 

Stabilize your debt to increase buying power

 

When assessing what you can afford, banks will examine your debt-to-income ratio. Lenders want to know that you’ll be able to pay your mortgage on top of your remaining debt.

 

They do this by looking at your housing ratio, or front-end ratio, to determine what portion of your income will go to paying your mortgage. Your front-end ratio is calculated by taking your monthly mortgage payment and dividing by your monthly gross income. The higher the ratio, the higher risk of default.

 

Next, your back-end ratio, or debt-to-income ratio, is used to determine how much of your monthly income goes toward paying your debts. Your back-end ratio is calculated by taking your monthly debt expense (the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance of your mortgage payments, credit card payments, student loans, and any other loan payments), and dividing it by your gross monthly income.

 

Similar to your credit score, paying off credit cards, and making steady, consistent progress on your loans will help to decrease your debt and improve your debt-to-income ratios, which will increase your buying power.

 

Although these aspects of your finances don’t cover everything that goes into the purchase of a home, they do play a significant role in how lenders assess your financial standing and thereby eligibility for approval. Increasing your buying power takes time and strategy. Plan accordingly so that when you find your dream home, you’re in the best position possible to buy it.

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