Gayle Caughey's Blog
Why make your home more minimalistic?It's nice to own things you like. It's fun to shop for them, too. So why should you aim for less? There are a number of measurable benefits associated with simple living. Sometimes we get so caught up in the process of acquiring things that we forget to stop and wonder why we want those things in the first place. Here are some of the more pronounced benefits:
- Reduce stress. Do you put in extra hours at work to support your lifestyle? Do you lack sleep, or wish you got to spend more time with your family or just relaxing alone? Minimalism can help with all of these by cutting back on unnecessary expenses.
- Less cleaning. Owning fewer things means having fewer things to clean and clean around. All of that time cleaning adds up.
- A more relaxing space. Cluttered rooms are not very inviting. It's hard to feel relaxed or be productive in them.
Ways to make your home more minimalWhich parts of your home you want to be more minimal is up to you. If you want to create a minimalist haven in your home office, maybe that's the only room you need to alter. However, there are some shared traits that minimal rooms have in common.
- Clear surfaces. Many of us have developed a tendency to cover every surface in our home with stuff. Floors, countertops, and desks can all quickly become cluttered. Take a look around your home and ask yourself if those items are adding any value to the room.
- Use storage smartly. One natural extension and benefit of minimalism is that you'll need less storage because you'll have less things. That enables you to use the storage you do have wisely. Keep things you aren't using stored out of sight to create a more open atmosphere.
- Get rid of extra furniture. It's easy to find yourself with too much furniture in your living room. People have a tendency of buying new chairs or benches and putting the old ones somewhere else in their house. The same is true for pillows, tables, and so on. When you buy new furniture, sell or donate the old items to get them out of the way.
- Simplify your wardrobe. This is the most difficult for many people. It's hard to give away clothes because you have the nagging thought that you might want to wear them again some day. Open up your closet and think about your wardrobe. Are there items that don't go well with your other clothes or that you hardly ever wear? Do you have multiple things you only need one or two of (bathing suits, belts, etc.)? Simplifying your wardrobe is a great exercise in simplifying the rest of your life.
Home improvements are a great way to add value to your home if you’re hoping to sell in the near future. The problem is, however, that many home improvements are costly and time-consuming. And, if you don’t plan carefully, they could even cost more than the amount of value you add to the home.
The good news is that there are several home improvement projects that will cost you less than $100 and won’t uproot your life in the meantime.
In this article, we’re going to give you five home improvements, all under $100, that can add value to your home. That way when you do decide to sell, you won’t have to scramble to make updates. Read on for the list.
1. Add a fresh coat of paint to your trim and baseboards (Cost: $75 - $100)
Trim and baseboards fall prey to getting kicked and covered in dust and cobwebs over the years. Adding a fresh coat of white paint will make an entire room feel new.
2. Improve your lighting (Cost: ~$50)
Bright lights help to make the rooms of your home feel more spacious. If you can’t increase the natural light of a room, bright, LEDs are the next best alternative.
The cost of LEDs is constantly decreasing, and they’re becoming more energy-efficient as well. To really get the most value out of your budget, use different color temperatures depending on the mood of the room (warm for bedrooms, bright white for bathrooms, etc.).
3. Add a burst of color to your front door (Cost: ~$20)
It can be difficult to increase curb appeal on a tight budget. One way to do so is to repaint your door a bright color that stands out but still fits with the style of your home.
4.Install a new shower head (Cost: $80 - $100)
Adding a new shower head to the main bathroom is a great way to add a bit of luxury to the room. While many stainless steel shower heads cost around $200, there are several chrome options that look just as nice and cost half the price.
5.Upgrade your hardware (Cost: $50 - $80)
Replacing your kitchen cabinets is an expensive endeavor. However, you can easily revamp your existing cabinets by replacing their hardware. Add a fresh coat of paint and they’ll look brand new.
Outside the kitchen, you can also update towel racks, bathroom drawer knobs, coat hooks, and other outdated hardware. Using a consisted, dark color throughout the home is a good way to give your house a theme and a sense of continuity.
With these five simple upgrades, you can increase the value of your home, boost your curb appeal, and avoid breaking the bank at the same time.
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Monthly mortgage payments for first time home buyers are generally lower than they are for repeat home buyers. As a first time home buyer, you could pay $1,200 or less to own a house. If you're a seasoned home buyer or have bought two or more houses, your monthly mortgage payments might hover around $1,400 a month or higher.
Using mortgage payment savings to invest in other areas of your life
The higher monthly mortgage payments could reflect income increases, job promotions and demands of a growing family. Yet, even with a higher salary, it's smart to lower the amount of mortgage you're responsible for. There are so many things that you can use the savings for. You could use money that you shave off your monthly mortgage payments to:
- Grow your retirement savings
- Invest in your or your children's education
- Fund the startup of your new business
- Pay off student loans, credit cards and other debts
- Cover the costs of home repairs, upgrades and general home maintenance
- Travel internationally
Practical steps to lower monthly mortgage payments
Saving on a mortgage can yield long term rewards. It also requires discipline. Five steps that you could take to lower your monthly mortgage payments are:
- Send in $100 or more above your required minimum monthly mortgage installment. For example, if your monthly mortgage is $1,426,send 1,526 or more. You may have to pay $100 or more a month for several months before you notice a drop in your principal. Therefore, if you take this approach, stick with it.
- Refinance your mortgage when rates drop. An example of this is if you purchased your house when interest rates were 8%. Should rates drop to 3.6%, your monthly mortgage payments could drop significantly. There are fees associated with refinancing a mortgage. Among these fees are the mortgage application fee, loan origination fee, home appraisal fee, closing costs and documentation fees. It's advisable to refinance only if you plan on keeping a house for several years.
- Rent out part of your house. If you're concerned about renters paying on time, rent to two people. Charge enough so that you can cover at least half of your rent with payments from one renter.
- Move your business to your home. Instead of paying a second mortgage for a separate business location, operate your business from within your house.
- Apply for a longer repayment term. Your overall principal won't drop, but your monthly mortgage payments should go down.
- Put a healthy down payment on your home. Check with your lender and ensure that the lender will let you forego mortgage insurance payments if you increase your down payment.
Life changes like job layoffs, new business startups and marriages and divorces could call for you to make lower monthly mortgage payments. Despite what you might think, you have options. One or more changes could keep you in your home. The extra money could also give you the finances to invest in other parts of you and your children's futures.