Archive for the ‘Our Homes, Saving $$ A-Z..’ Category

Increasing your homes value.

November 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Here is a link to a Yahoo article that is pretty much right on the money.

10 Ways to Increase your Homes Value.

Sorry but the story vanished while I was writing this. Here is a brief summary:

Ten things to do that will increase your home’s value, that you can recoup 70 to 90 % of when you sell. Here are 9, sorry I forgot one of them.

1 Add a room, build or redo the attic.

2 Add a Garage.

3 Completely finish the basement.

4 Add a wood deck.

5 Add a composite deck.

6 Completely remodel the main Bathroom.

7 Add a bathroom.

7 Completely remodel the Kitchen.

8 Update kitchen items.

I gave it the once over and it pretty much seems to be in order, but I have a couple of comments to make about it.

First, about the Basement Remodel.  Back when the housing market was cruising with new sub divisions being built almost daily and home values going through the roof, I was informed that the homes on the market that were being sold the fastest, were the ones without a finished basement, or very little done to the basement at all. They were the ones that were moving the fastest and that was because most people don’t want to have to tear out a complete basement remodeling job to put in what they want.

Plus, most basement remodel usually have some sort of decor or theme to them and usually it was what the previous owner liked. Chances are the buyer will not like how the basement is done and will want to do it their way. There is something about a basement. Either you are just going to keep things down there and use it like a big storage shed requiring no real work to it at all, or you are going to make it into your primary spot to live and entertain, which usually requires a full remodel.

If you do decide to finish it off though, you want to go very, very plain with things. No special woods or funky materials and do not go with any kind of theme. No wagon wheels or pink elephant stencils. Make it plain Jane but do it well. Don’t cut corners and make it look as if a drunk carpenter did it. This will enable the future buyers to redecorate it how they want, without doing to much tear out first.

This was passed on to me by a professional in the housing market.

Now, about all the figures of how much you will get back if you do the items to your home that they list. They are pretty much on the money with the figures.

My comment is this, You will never recoup the total cost of what you did when you sell, so don’t do any more than clean the place immaculately and repair everything that is scratched bent or broken. Paint and make it move in ready. You will get the most return for your dollar by just getting it completely ready to move into as if it were a rented home or apartment.

If you are not moving then by all means do what you want to, so you can enjoy your home for a while before you ever think of selling it. Worry about recouping what you put into it later, and fix it up the way you want to now. But keep it plain and you will sell faster.



Manuals and Instructions, Can Save You Cash!

Manuals and Instructions can be a valuable tool in the defense of things getting old and wearing out. I know, we didn’t use the instructions to put the thing together or set it up, so whats the big deal now?

Well depending on the item, those overlooked pages can be a goldmine of valuable information that not only can help you when you run into a problem, but they can also help you to keep the item going and in tip top shape as well. We all know the cost of big ticket items now days and the longer you can keep these things doing what they are supposed to do, the more our investment gives us in returned savings.

Keep that rider mower going a couple more years by giving it all the necessary repair and maintenance it needs and you have gotten more of your moneys worth out of your purchase and put off having to spend big bucks for a new one right now.

Now if you can afford the new one or want some new options that a new one would offer than by all means treat yourself to it. But in the real world we most of the time have to repair and maintain things to save money to live. That’s where the instructions play a key role in getting the expected life out of the thing you bought.

Most manuals or instructions will have a small section all about the care and use of the item you purchased. They will tell you about all the important things that you need to do to get the longest amount of use from the item as you can. They will at least give you the details of what you have to do to get through the warranty period, in order for them to honor that warranty if something should go wrong early.

This information will not only help keep the thing working but will help to eliminate many common problems that you could run into by not doing the necessary maintenance. Most of the stuff is easy and can be done by someone who is not afraid to follow instructions and knows how to use a few common hand tools.

But if that isn’t your cup of tea, then find a reputable repair shop in your area and set up a yearly maintenance price with them, before you let them have the item, and show them that you want them to do what’s listed in your manual. (Don’t let them keep the manual!) Now set it up to be a regular yearly or every other year thing and even though you will be paying someone to do the upkeep, you should get the full life expectancy from your item. Which saves you money because you are now getting more use for the money you paid.

I had an old push mower that I bought new for $129.00. I used that mower for almost 14 years by doing regular maintenance on it, before getting a new one with all the goodies. That old mower cost me a about $9.00 a year to mow the lawn each season (plus gas). A lawn crew wanted $40.00 a week to mow the same lawn. You can add that up yourself, for 20 cuttings a year for the 14 years and see the difference.  ($800.00 a year, $11,200.00 for 14 years).

A friend only got seven years of use from his $400.00 mower because he never took care of the thing. So divide his years of use (7) into the price he paid and see what it cost him per year ($57.00 a year).  That was compared to my $9.00 per year and my lawn looked the same as his.

Point is, by doing the maintenance you should, you can keep your costs of doing things to a very reasonable amount. The money you save with every use, had you put it into the bank, would add up to a lot.  Probably enough to buy a replacement when the old one wears out.

It also makes it very easy to figure out your budget for all those weird items because you can closely figure out your operating costs per month. Now try that for the last car you purchased and see how much a year it cost you to drive it.


Cities making money on your fence, at your expense.

Have you done anything around your house lately, like put up a privacy fence or a shed? Those are just a couple of things that most homeowners do to their property. So a lot of cities jumped on the band wagon and made those items, non permit items because the inspectors were so overworked and the cities wanted to give their residents a little break.

So what happened? Things got a little slow with home sales coming to a crawl and the inspectors needed more work. Also the cities needed more money, because of the economy. So guess what? Before you do anything to your house or property you better call the city and speak with someone about your plans and don’t forget to ask them if you need a permit, because I bet you will.

They can hit you with big fines if you don’t get one and you should have. So check first.

Just like the police giving tickets at the end of the month, the city’s have realized the possible revenue they can make from inspecting everything. They are making you pull permits for the free bees from the past and they are adding many new items to the list also, depending on where you live.

Especially since property sales have have picked up over the past year. People are buying auctioned and foreclosed homes at a record pace and every single one requires at least one inspection. Most of them will have items that need to be repaired and there goes the money for permits. I heard of one person that bought a home that needed a lot of work. So you figure the city would give him a break for buying what was a piece of junk and fixing it up. Think again.

They charged him almost $1000 combined in permits, occupancy inspections (C of O’s) and charges for a couple of things he had to have reinspected or didn’t pull permits for. The city’s now have realized that permits, like traffic tickets at the end of the month, are an easy money maker so beware.

You would figure that with the way the economy is, they would be working with the homeowners that are buying these older houses in their cities, just for the fact that they will be inhabited again and not remaining empty eyesores that are being vandalized to the point of demolition. You would think they would be giving discounted permits or waving permit fees altogether to have them renovated faster.

Isn’t this still America? Why are they taking advantage of people who are trying to get ahead by owning their first home and helping the economy to get stronger again. I guess America or no America you will never be able to fight city hall.

I wonder if any one in state government is keeping an eye on this gouging that the cities are doing?

Tip of the day. Always agree with an inspector even if you know for fact they are wrong, and thank them kindly no matter how rude they are to you, because inspectors not only have the power to make the repairs rough on you, they have big ego’s also and they can and will cause you trouble.

The Inspector is ALWAYS RIGHT, and you CAN’T FIGHT city hall on their level, because they all work together. Even if you know you are correct.


If you know your inspector is wrong or you feel the city inspection fees are to much or too many, them leave a complaint or fight your case from the next higher level. The Michigan Attorney General. This Is Sill America Isn’t it? So tell your State Attorney General.

Save on Home Repairs.

Get some good answers from others about home repairs or upkeep. Find out just how someone else handled that same situation, or how to complete a project from A-Z. Home repair, upkeep, and remodeling are major items that most homeowners will face in a lifetime.

In the United States our homes are our castles and most people like to fix them up and show them off whenever possible. It doesn’t matter if you have a mansion or a small two bedroom ranch. What does matter is how you fix it up and make it look good, while saving your money.

Diamonds come in all sizes and so do the houses in America. What really matters though is not the cost but how it looks and works overall.

Now when it needs a wall removed or the hidden leak has rotted out the floor under the cabinet, you have to be serious and know what you have to do to repair it or have it repaired. If the garage door springs a roller or the front of the kitchen junk drawer falls off, don’t worry. There are ways you can handle it or just have someone fix them for you.

All of these types of issues from A-Z will be handled in this topic. We will even handle routine maintenance, as well. With a little community togetherness we will be able to give each other the answers we need to have our own castles in tip top shape and looking great.

So if there is anyone out there who is installing a bowling alley in their basement, just remember, I am open for a few good games most evenings as well as being a certified bowling alley tester. So drop me an e-mail and I’ll get out my ball.

Well I guess I will be seeing most of you in homes and gardens. Good luck and just one tip. Never start a project big or small without calculating how much it will cost first and then adding in half more to the amount, because most projects will run over budget, I Guarantee it. Now pass me the liquid nails _tm, and the liquid hammer _tm,  please, and step back.

by/ Bankruptnooption.


Going Green affects everyone more than we think. It affects each of us individually by keeping more of your hard earned cash in your pocket and saves the Earth from Global Warming at the same time. Win Win.

It’s about saving Energy! There are literally hundreds of things that we can do to save energy and keep that money for ourselves. So try a few on the list here, and start saving! Remember, for more money saving ideas of other kinds, visit our other categories!

#1  We all know this one but have we done it yet- Change your old light bulbs with the new florescent type. Prices are really dropping fast on this item. You can get a 4 pack at Target for $8.00, that’s not bad considering they were $10 – $20 a bulb just a couple years ago.

bornbakwrd commented:

I hadn’t thought about that. I have some of those new bulbs however they don’t seem to put out enough light. Do you know if they make them brighter now too?

Bankrupt No Option said…

They do come in different wattage’s. Look for a spot on the package that matches the new lower watt number to the old higher watt number the bulb is equal to. The new 23 watt = the old 100 watt bulbs and the new 13 watt = the old 60 watt bulbs, as for the rest you have to refer to the package or check out the following chart in the link below. REMEMBER to always look at the light fixture inside and out for a tag ( it may be very small and hard to notice or read ) that says the “maximum watt lamp” for that fixture for the old style incandescent bulb. NOW make sure the new bulb is not equal to an old watt number that is higher than what is on that tag on your fixture, or you could have problems, maybe even a fire!!!! and never use them in recessed lighting cans unless it says on the package that you can!!!

Here is a couple of links to some great information about compact fluorescent bulbs.


  1. —–Caulk and insulate air gaps around all your doors and windows. Everywhere your old caulk has a crack, it is a leak.
  2. —–Don’t forget that weatherstripping around the door frames and under the door. It needs to seal out all the drafts. Replacements can be found at your local home center.
  3. —–Go around your house and seal up any cracks, holes, or gaps around anything to stop air penetration. Your local hardware can advise you of what to use (caulk or spray foam), so tell them what you found and what you are trying to seal.
  4. —–Remove all of your floor moldings when painting a room with an attic above it and use window and door foam spray insulation in the gap under the drywall behind where the moldings go. When the foam dries just cut it off with a little knife or saw then reinstall the moldings. This will stop all the drafts that come down the inside of the walls that sneak out from around the moldings. It’s works to help eliminate bugs and spiders too.
  5. —–When replacing floor moldings after painting or redecorating, caulk around the moldings after reinstalling them, to seal out all drafts.
  6. —–Properly weatherstrip all of your exterior doors and windows and don’t forget the garage doors and windows if the garage is attached to your home.
  7. —–Dial down the thermostat a few degrees when you are gone. More when you go away for vacation.
  8. —–Dial down the hot water tank to low or Vacation setting if leaving for more than a day. Remember to turn it back up when you return.
  9. —–Don’t forget to turn off the water valves to the washer also. It will stop the hoses from possibly bursting and flooding your home while you are away. That will save you big bucks.
  10. —–Find some flue heat radiators to place on your water tank and furnace flues. They help radiate some of the heat that is lost up those pipes back into the room.
  11. —–Use lower watt light bulbs in areas where you can. A 40 watt reading lamp next to your favorite chair will save you from turning on the big ceiling light that lights the whole room.
  12. —–Just lowering the wattage of the bulbs in your home will cut the heat produced and save electricity for everyone.
  13. —–Carpool or get a ride with a friend to save on gas.
  14. —–If you have a close friend or neighbor that you see often, call each other and let them know when you are going somewhere or to the store, because they may go with you or have you pick something up for them and bring it by, since you probably were going to see them later anyway.
  15. —–Keep your fridge and freezer as full as possible, this cuts down on run time. Use 3/4 full plastic jugs of water to take up the empty room.
  16. —–Place a small brick or a doubled Ziploc full of rocks in your toilet tank (a pop bottle full of sand works also) and keep the kids out of it! Make sure it doesn’t interfere with any moving parts by watching it flush a couple times while the top is off. You will save gallons on your water bills over time.
  17. —–Try using a toaster oven or a microwave for cooking small things, this keeps your big oven for the larger meals and will save on gas or electricity.
  18. —–If the evenings are nice where you live, spend an hour or two just past sundown sitting on the porch or in the screen room and keep all the lights and TV’s off inside the house. You will relax and save energy at the same time.
  19. —–Installing a whole house attic exhaust fan or place a fan on the shady side of your house in a window or door and place another fan in a room on the other side of the house blowing out. On nice days this will cut down on air conditioning bills.
  20. —–Use reusable food containers and start watching the food bill shrink.
  21. —–Land scape your home with trees that loose their leaves in the fall (remember to clean out your gutters after the leaves drop). The object here is to shade the house as much as possible in the summer and when the leaves drop, off the sun will shine through in the winter. This is a big energy saver! We lost our two Ash trees to the Emerald Ash Borer and our A.C. unit runs constantly all summer now! Talk to your local garden center about your plans. Describe your home and the direction it faces to them so they can recommend the proper trees and how far away from the house to plant them. Remember not to plant a tree over your houses buried sewer or water pipes because you may end up with big trouble in the years to follow! TREE ROOTS LOVE PIPES!
  22. —–Save misprinted copy pages in a box for kids to color or write on, if there’s nothing personal on them or cut them in half and place them in a shallow box with a pencil on your counter to use as note paper. Just remember to shred any misprints that contain personal info.
  23. —–If you have an unfinished basement or crawl space make sure the insulation is installed between the floor joists. This lets you turn down the basement air vents, while still having a comfortable floor upstairs.
  24. —–In a basement go around the foundation inside and loosely stuff some foam insulation back in between the floor joists and the brick or walls.
  25. —–Go through your whole house, even the cabinets, and anywhere you see a water pipe than insulate it, especially in your crawl space if you have one. The home centers sell all sizes of slip on insulation that can be cut to length with scissors and installed in a few minutes. This saves a lot and helps the hot or cold water get to the sinks faster.
  26. —–Use area rugs and throw rugs on all levels around the house wherever you can. They help keep in the warmth or A.C.
  27. —–Now don’t forget to seal your air ducts with the proper sealing materials so there are no more air leaks.
  28. —–Then insulate your ducts all around all of them. Check with the home centers on the products for these jobs.
  29. —–Now if you rarely use your basement or you don’t mind it cooler, just close off the vents down there. This will save you money all year around, especially in the winter on your heating bill because you just cut the square footage of space being heated or cooled by half the size of your home.
  30. —–Something small that you wouldn’t think would make much of a difference at all, is to hang a curtain or install a basement door and keep it closed in the winter, and summer. Basements are naturally cool.
  31. —–Also closing the vents half way but not all and keeping the doors closed to unused rooms will cut the cost of heating and cooling a lot.
  32. —–Don’t forget about those little foam pads that you go around and put behind the outlet cover plates of any outlet that’s on an outside wall of your home. They really do help stop drafts.
  33. —–Remove your heat registers from the wall and caulk the gap between the metal duct and the drywall opening. This will make sure that all the heat and cool your furnace blows out, goes into your room and not back into the wall.
  34. —–One more thing wash or replace your furnace filter as recommended in your furnace manual.
  35. —–Also remember to dial down that hot water heater to a middle setting on the dial, and wrap the tank with a good water tank blanket from your local hardware or home center. Make sure you follow the instructions on the package or ask at the store for help!! You don’t want any fires!!
  36. —–Don’t forget to clean out the dust from the refrigerator coils every month or so. You know the things either on the back or underneath that look like a weave of small tubes and metal fins. You may need to remove a small panel to see them so check your manual. Buy a brush specifically made for this job at your home center and do it very gently. This will save you energy and extend the life of your fridge. (clean everywhere you can see!)
  37. —–If your attic insulation measures 6 inches or less, consult your local home center about ways to add insulation to what you have and you will not only recoup your costs, but it will pay you back as long as you own the home!
  38. —–Don’t forget the wall insulation, this can be added also.
  39. —–If your hot water tank is old and won’t last much longer, check out a new instant or on demand hot water unit. They are expensive to install but they not only last twice as long as a standard tank but they save on your energy bill also. This is another item that saves you more the longer you use it.
  40. —–Remember to buy appliances with low energy star ratings, and look into a more efficient furnace when the time comes to replace the old one.
  41. —–Get rid of that extra fridge or freezer in the basement or garage. You know, the old one that was to good to throw away when you bought the new one. That old one was an energy hog, so go buy a new one that’s low energy rated and a little smaller.
  42. —–Then when you have a large gathering use a cooler and ice for the extra beverages!
  43. —–Double pane windows on your house or even solar film applied to the windows will cut your energy bills also.
  44. —–Remember in the summer to keep your shades, blinds, or curtains closed in the rooms that get sun. This helps the A.C. unit to cool your home. Open them on sunny winter days.
  45. —–Also take a look at your owners manual on how to keep your outside A.C. coil clean, especially after you see the cottonwood tree fuzzies are done blowing around. Cleaning the coil regularly will give you the most efficiency from your cooling system and save you big bucks.
  46. —–As far as running a household window air conditioner, those need to be cleaned at least once a year also and I’m not just talking about the inside removable air filter if it has one. Find out from the manual or a small appliance dealer how to do it and they will run twice as good and will have a much longer life.
  47. —–Mount a window Air Conditioner in a window that gets more shade during the day, it helps keep it cool.
  48. —–Shade your outside A.C. unit with bushes or shrubs at least 3 feet away from all sides. Keeping the unit shaded will save money and make it work better.
  49. —–Paint all of your A.C. units white outside. That will reflect the sun and keep them cooler.
  50. —–Cover your window A.C. units in the winter to keep out drafts, seal the cover tight to the house.
  51. —–If you love to decorate for the holidays, Wrap the face of your Window A.C. units inside to make them look like a package with a bow or ribbon across the face. This not only makes them festive and gets your friends commenting, but it cuts the drafts as well.
  52. —–Seal the gaps around any pull down stairs with weather stripping or caulk around the edge.
  53. —–Here is an easy way to add insulation to those pull down stairs. Get a two inch piece of rigid foam insulation from the home center and cut it a few inches bigger than the opening framework above. When you pull down the stairs simply push it to the side as you are going up and when you are climbing back down pull it back over the opening. This will cut the transmission of cold air through the wood door, making the living space below warmer, and it’s so light a kid could move it.
  54. —–Now if you really want to cut back on your energy bill and the worlds oil consumption, then simply follow the ways of the past.
  55. —–Wash dishes by hand.
  56. —–Hang clothes on the line to dry. You can do this indoors, outdoors, or both.
  57. —–Wash your cars with the old bucket and rag.
  58. —–Use an old rotary push mower for a small lawn.
  59. —–Shovel instead of snow blow.
  60. —–Use a good hand can opener or hand mixer, or chopper if you don’t have much to do.
  61. —–Edge your lawn with a push edger.
  62. —–Trim a few small hedges with manual hedge clippers.
  63. —–Open the garage door by hand.
  64. —–Close the gate manually. It all boils down to eliminating electric and gas powered items, period. Simple Hey.
  65. —–Now Ride your old ten speed to the store the next time you need to pick something up and who knows, after doing all the above things manually also, you might even be able to save yourself some more money by dropping the gym membership, because you wont need it any more.
  66. —–Install Awnings over you homes windows. they will keep out a lot of the summer sun.
  67. —–Add awnings over porches also, the more your home is in the shade the less money you spend on energy.
  68. —–Install motion sensing switches in rooms where you enter and leave within an hour. They usually can be adjusted to turn off the light automatically in the amount of time you set. These are especially useful if you have kids or others that frequently forget to turn off the light when they come out of a room.
  69. —–Place large bulky furniture or tapestries against the outside walls of your home are another good way to use the things you may already have to insulate your walls further.
  70. —–Use solid doors on closets that are against an outside wall of your house and always keep the door closed. This will make the size of each room you are trying to heat just a little bit smaller. Why pay to heat the junk in your closet with the air that heats your rooms. Same goes for cabinets on outside walls also.
  71. —–Close your fireplace and wood-burner dampers in the winter, but remember to open them back up when you build your next fire or you might get smoked out of your house.
  72. —–Don’t forget to put up those storm windows in place of those screens, and if you have shutters, use them on the windows you mostly keep closed in the cold weather anyway. But don’t permanently attach anything to block a window in case of fire.
  73. —–Install those clear plastic window film insulation kits over your windows in the winter for that extra air barrier against the cold air and the drafts you might have missed while caulking.
  74. —–Go Gas Powered Green! Anything you have with a motor in it can waste gas. Keeping your cars and mowers tuned up properly and keeping the tires inflated to the proper pressure will lower the cost of gas to run these items, Possibly saving you hundreds a year. Even fuel injected cars need regular tune up parts to keep them running their best so they can give you the gas mileage you expect.
  75. —–Our weed whippers and mowers will all do a good job at a lower speed. Cutting the speed while using them not only saves you money but it’s a lot quieter and pleasant to your ears while doing so. I have cut my mower and weed whipper speeds down considerably to where they still work just fine and now a tank of gas lasts two weeks instead of one. That just cut my gas bill for yard maintenance in half.
  76. —–Also running your motors at a slower speed, like driving with easy takeoffs (no hot-rodding) and pressing your foot down like there was an egg between it and the gas pedal that you don’t want to break, will save a lot of gas. ( Someone I knew drove to Oklahoma from Michigan and cut their gas bill by almost 25% by driving like that. ) It will save you money overall because these items (motors) tend to last longer when you don’t abuse them so you will have them longer.
  77. —–If only you are cold than instead of turning up the thermostat go put on a sweater, snuggie, robe, or blanket.
  78. —–Get everyone slippers. They keep your feet warm and the heat turned down.
  79. —–Use the new low flow shower heads, faucets and toilets, they are much better now than they used to be and will save big bucks over their life on your water bill.
  80. —–When cooking up those meals that use a big pot (stews, soups, etc.) cook enough to feed your family twice. Simply freeze half and now you have a meal ready to go when you are late getting home. Cooking in bulk quantities can save you up to 25% of your energy bill for preparing food.
  81. —–Use a crock pot whenever you can. There are many cook books full of crock pot meals and it not only makes cooking easy and tastes good but it will save you money also.
  82. —–Share some meals with a neighbor or friends and family. Just one kitchen going at a time will save you all tremendously. You can all pitch in on the cost of the food.
  83. —–Buy fruits and vegetables in bulk.
  84. —–Farm markets sell in bulk and if you learn to can, you can save from buying all those expensive canned goods all winter long. Have a canning party with your friends and share the cost.

Going Green is easy and is doing anything that saves you money while being good for the environment at the same time! It’s Simple.

Some people can afford to waste energy because of their income, and others have to do what they can just to get by.

However we all need to realize that our energy resources won’t last forever and that our grandchildren and great grandchildren will need some too.

Wasting energy is not a status symbol. Saving Energy by Going Green is now becoming the new way  to keep up with the Joneses’ and to show the world that you are a trend-setter and that you are doing your part.

Go Green America. by/ Bankruptnooption.

This One Says It All!

Decorate, Furnish, and Save.

March 18, 2009 1 comment

Tired of the same old thing or did you just move into your new home? There are many ways to decorate and remodel. Many can even save you a buck or two. Lets put our minds together on this one and give some exciting and cool ideas on some Decorating and Remodeling Ideas.

Now there are many different ways to decorate a home and no two people will ever do it the same way. They may choose the same theme but the final look will be unique in every one. The thing to remember is to make it the most finished and polished you can make it on your budget. I don’t care if your theme is Count Dracula. If it requires dust and cob webs then make it the best dust and webs you can afford to create on your budget. Cheap webs look just as real as expensive webs if you take the time to do the cheep ones well!

Use things that are finished well and keep them up also. When fixing it up make sure the job looks like it belongs in better homes and gardens and with the combination of these, you will have a nice jewel to show no matter what size it is or how much money you have to invest in it.

So have fun and turn it into what you want it to be. You own it and you have the right to be comfortable in it, so do it.

Now let’s hear about some of your themes or designs and how you may have saved some money while doing them.