Sunday, June 22, 2014

Moving Expenses: Why is Moving So Expensive?

Moving Is Expensive!

Moving is Expensive!
Moving is Expensive!
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

As I prepare to sell my house and move to another house, I am spending some time thinking about moving expenses and how to minimize them.  I think of moving expenses as an investment to a certain extent- you spend time selecting a place you want to live that will appreciate in value and then you spend money to buy it and move all of your stuff there in the most efficient way possible.  If you choose well and take care of your property, the appreciation will easily cover your moving expenses.  But as with other expenses, you are better off not spending money you don't need to spend.

Moving is expensive because it requires a lot of resources.  Some moving expenses can be reduced or eliminated if you are willing to put in extra time or call in favors from your friends.  However, the chaos of moving makes efficiency difficult.

There are lots of expenses associated with moving, and most of them are hard to avoid
There are lots of expenses associated with moving, and most of them are hard to avoid
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Closing costs

When you get a mortgage, you'll need to pay closing costs.  Typical closing costs are a couple thousand dollars, depending on the size of your loan and which bank you use.  The only way to avoid closing costs is to either pay cash, or rent instead of getting a mortgage.  The appreciation of real estate value has worked in my favor, and I like to fix up and improve properties, so buying has been a good option for me, even considering closing costs.

Real Estate Agent Commission

Most real estate agents, also known as Realtors, charge 6% or 7% commission to sell a property.  This amount comes off the top, so if your property sells for $200,000 and you have a 6% commission agreement, you'll pay $12,000 in real estate commission.  Your Realtor and the buyer's Realtor will split the commission.  You can avoid real estate commissions by selling the house yourself without a real estate agent.  Selling "For Sale By Owner" often takes much longer than selling with an agent, and most people who try to sell a house themselves end up getting a real estate agent eventually.

I once tried to sell a house myself, and I doubt that I will try that again.  It takes a lot of time, and you have very little information compared to professional real estate agents.  If you price your house too high, it won't sell.  If you price it too low, you are losing money.  When you sell your own home, it is hard to screen serious buyers from people just poking around who have no chance of actually buying your house.  Professional real estate agents have lots of leads and experience to sell a house as quickly as possible for the most money.  A good real estate agent is a good value.

You can find discount real estate brokers and agents- locally we have an agent who will sell a house for $990.  But if this agent is making 10 times less per house that he sells compared with a conventional real estate agent, he would need to sell 10 times more houses to make a living.  So how much time and energy do you think he would have available to spend working to sell your house?  For a big asset like my house, I am willing to spend some money to make the most money that I can from my investment.

Movers and Moving Trucks

On my last move, I paid about $1,000 for 3 movers and a moving truck for 6 hours to move my larger items.  I used my own pick-up truck to move boxes and smaller items.  This time, I no longer have a pick-up truck, so I'll probably rent a U-Haul truck.  You can avoid the expense of movers and a moving truck if you have lots of friends you can entice to help you move and if you can borrow a pick-up truck.  Sometimes a move needs to happen on a tight schedule, and recruiting friends may not be good enough.  If you are moving some distance, it may not be practical to recruit friends to help on both ends of the move.  Sometimes movers and moving trucks are necessary expenses.

Moving Boxes and Packing Materials

When I was younger, I would use free moving boxes- I would get banana boxes from grocery stores and liquor boxes from liquor stores.  The downside of using free boxes is that it takes time to find them, and they are various sizes, so they are harder to stack efficiently.  Plus, free moving boxes may be dirty or even have insects or insect eggs in them.

I have decided to spend a little money getting new moving boxes for about $1 each.  It is hard to pay for something you can get free, but being able to stack and move boxes more efficiently is worth something.  Other moving supplies include lots of packing tape and bubble wrap.  I save the bubble wrap for protecting expensive breakable items and use free newspapers that can be found at grocery stores to wrap most of the other items.  Buying moving boxes and packing supplies is a small fraction of the large expense of moving.

Postage Stamps for Change of Address Cards

Most change of address can be handled using a cell phone.  However it seems like some change of address is best handled by mailing a change of address card.  Last time I moved I bought a few sheets of stamps for this purpose and probably will again for this move.  I found it quicker and easier to drop a card in the mail rather than working through phone menus and trying to change my address via phone.

Several moves ago, I forgot to change my address with one of my credit card companies and actually missed a few payments while my bills were going to the wrong address.  This hurt my credit rating for years.  Make sure to change your address with all of your creditors.

Checks with your New Address

For an extra dollar of two, I doubled the number of checks I ordered when I moved to my current house.  Too bad I'll need to order new checks with my new address.  This is an unavoidable expense if you use checks.  I mostly use credit cards, debit cards, and on-line bill payer to pay bills, but there are still times when a personal check is needed.

Cleaning Supplies

As I prepare my house for showings and open house events, I am using a lot of cleaning supplies such as paper towels, Febreeze, cleaning chemicals, etc.  I also find that we run the dishwasher when it is not full to avoid having dirty dishes around at a showing.  If it helps sell the house, it is worth a bit of expense and inefficiency, but it is painful to watch if you are used to running very efficiently.

You'll use lots of cleaning supplies as you show and sell your house
You'll use lots of cleaning supplies as you show and sell your house
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher


There are things to prepare your house for showings that Realtors may suggest, such as packing some things, moving some of your furniture or clutter to storage, or painting and making minor repairs or updates.  These things cost money.  This may be a good investment if it helps your house sell for maximum value, but it feels like an expense as you spend the money.  As they say, "it takes money to make money".

Inspection Reports

You'll need to pay for inspection reports for the house you are buying.  I got a home inspection, a Radon report, and a wood destroying insect inspection.  The bank may require some inspections to get a mortgage.  Generally it is a good idea to find out what you are buying so you don't get surprised later.  My inspections on the house I am buying cost around $500.

Purchases for Your New House

You will likely find minor repairs that need to be done at your new house.  You may also want to buy or make curtains or window coverings.  You may find carpets or rugs that are dirty or smell bad and decide to replace them.  You may need to pay to dispose of trash or unwanted items after you move in.  Another example- you may decide to paint that pink bedroom a different color for you son.  You might find that the dishwasher is loud and barely works anymore.  Most people spend hundreds of dollars or more on purchases after moving to a new house.

Food Expenses: Pizza

As you pack up your food and pots and pans, you are more likely to eat out as your are getting ready to move.  It is difficult to plan and cook meals as the chaos of moving increases and also in the day or two following a move.  Another expense related to food is food that gets wasted during the move.  I try to pack my refrigerated and frozen foods in coolers on ice, but not everything fits, and the food can get warm if the move takes too long.  We had a period of 2 or 3 days between the time I sold my house and the time I bought my next house on my last move.  There was no good way to avoid losing some food.  We ate or gave away as much of it as we could.

You'll spend more eating out after your food and kitchen equipment is packed up
You'll spend more eating out after your food and kitchen equipment is packed up
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Time is Money

Moving takes up a lot of your time.  You spend time signing papers at the real estate office and at the bank.  You spend time house hunting and preparing your house to sell.  You spend time away from your home during open houses and showings.  Packing and unpacking takes a lot of time.  During your move, most of your possessions will not be available to you because they are packed up or in transit.  You may not be as effective at work during your move due to distraction and having less time available, and that could even cost you money with respect to raises or bonuses.

In my case, you may have noticed that I went nearly a month without posting to my blog.  You may have thought that I landed another book deal and was busy writing my second book, but the reason for my long absence from the Internet is that I have been so busy with moving-related activities that it has cut into my blogging time.

Moving is Expensive!

There are many positive things that can come with moving.  You have a chance for a fresh start with new neighbors in a new place.  You can take some time while packing to sort through your stuff and get rid of clutter.  I found a bunch of things I no longer needed and donated items to Goodwill, sold them at consignment shopssold them on Craigslist, gave them away, and sold them on eBay.

Moving almost always creates a life-long memory.  You can move somewhere that provides an opportunity to try new things or living in a different way.  I have lived in the city, in the country, and in the suburbs and have enjoyed the advantages of living in all of these environments.

But on the negative side, moving is expensive and it is hard to avoid most of the expenses of moving.  Even with good intentions, it is hard to avoid most moving expenses.  Try to think of moving as an investment.  Spend time picking a good property that will be a great home and that will appreciate in value with time and improvements that you can make.  Moving expenses are a step on the way to make a real estate investment that can help grow your happiness and net worth.  When you are making a decision to move, be sure to factor moving expenses into your decision.

Copyright © 2014 by Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy

Overcharged for a Bissell Lift-Off! How to avoid paying too much...

My New Carpet Cleaner- Bissell DeepClean Lift-Off Pet

Yesterday, I bought a new carpet cleaning machine to replace my Hoover Max Extract 60 that had stopped working.  The hand tool still worked, but the large brushes and suction intake was no longer working.  The suction had been low, and I tried taking it apart to clean it, but it was still not working very well.  Normally, I would have spent more time trying to repair it myself, buy I have my house for sale and needed to get the carpets clean for a showing.

I didn't feel too bad about moving on from the Hoover Max Extract 60- my wife picked it up for $30 on a clearance shelf at Target.  I cleaned all of the carpets in our house using the hand tool last weekend- this took a long time and didn't work very well.  When you're selling a house, having clean carpets can translate into money.  If your house is clean, you are more likely to find a buyer and get a better offer.

Hoover Max Extract 60
Hoover Max Extract 60- My Old Carpet Cleaner
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

My new carpet cleaner is a Bissell DeepClean Lift-Off Deluxe Pet Full Sized Carpet Cleaner.  I found this while picking up some moving boxes at Lowe's.  The regular price was $259.99 and Lowe's had it marked down to $229.99.  I used my smart phone to check prices and ratings at  The price on was also $229.99 and the Bissell Lift-Off had a 4-star rating, so I went ahead and bought it.  The one on amazon had a $30 shipping cost, so I figured I could save the shipping cost plus get the carpet cleaner immediately instead of waiting a few days.  After I got home, I assembled the cleaner by installing the handle with 4 screws, but did not put water or soap into the machine.

Bissell DeepClean Lift-Off Pet
Bissell DeepClean Lift-Off Pet- My New Carpet Cleaner
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Overcharged- Avoid Paying Too Much

Later that day, I was reading the ads in the newspaper and came across the Kohl's ad.  It had the Bissell Lift-Off on sale for $219.99.  Of course, I wanted to save $10, but I would have to take the shampooer apart, take it back to the store, return it, and buy another machine.  For me, this was about a break-even proposition considering that about 20 miles of driving would be required.  Then I realized that I had a 20% off coupon at Kohl's.  This changed the equation- I was now looking at saving $60 instead of only saving $10.  Plus I could get $30 in Kohl's cash for purchasing the Bissell.

This article explains how discounts at Kohl's work and how to get Kohl's Cash:

I got the Bissell Lift-Off for $60 less at Kohl's, plus $30 of Kohl's Cash!
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

I got out my receipt from Lowe's to confirm how much I would save if I returned the Bissell to Lowe's and bought the one at Kohl's.  I found the Lowe's did not discount the price to $229.99- they charged the original price of $259.99!  I should have checked my receipt at Lowe's, but I just assumed the price that scanned would match the price on the shelf.  Wow!  I grabbed a screwdriver and loaded the carpet cleaner and all of the packaging in my car to make the exchange.

Good Thing I Checked My Ads- Kohl's had the best price on a Bissel Lift-Off
Good Thing I Checked My Ads- Kohl's had the best price on a Bissel Lift-Off
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

How I Got My Money Back

My first stop was Kohl's to see if they had any Bissell Lift-Offs in stock.  I got the last one.  It rang up to $186.55 with tax.  Plus I did get $30 in Kohl's cash.  Looks like I'll be getting some free clothes or detergent for my carpet cleaner!

Pay less for your carpet cleaner
I got $90 back by returning my Bissell carpet cleaner and buying it at a different store!
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Next stop- Lowe's.  In the parking lot, I removed the 4 screws so I could take the handle off and get everything back in the box.  I hauled it in to the returns area.  They asked for the reason for the return.  I have learned to avoid giving a specific reason, in case that is not considered a valid reason.  I said, "my wife didn't like it," and that was that.  The amount credited back to my Citi Visa card:  $274.54 including tax.  My total savings:  $87.99!

The Bissell Lift-Off did a great job on my carpet- unlike my old Hoover Max Extract 60, the Bissell uses heated water and has a more effective brush.  The carpet looks- and smells- great now.  I considered renting a carpet cleaner for $25 per use, but this could add up over the course of selling a house, plus the house we are buying will need some carpet cleaning.

Here's what I learned from this experience.
  1. It is good to check on-line prices, but you should also check sales and coupons.  I almost always have a 20% off coupon at Kohl's.
  2. Keep your item in the box and don't open it or assemble it until you have checked sales and coupons to make sure you have the deal you want.
  3. Check your receipt at the check-out to make sure your item rang up at the correct price!  I was overcharged by $30.

Copyright © 2014 by Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy

Monday, May 26, 2014

Free TV- Save More Than Just Money...

My First Year of Free TV

Can You Survive Without Paying For TV?
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pinche

About one year ago, I reached the end of my tolerance for paying ridiculously high satellite TV bills.  I called up my satellite TV company and asked about lower cost plans.  I was paying about $120 per month and had been a customer for about 10 years.  I wanted to know what I could do to lower my bill.  Cable TV packages have similar ridiculous bills.

Dish Network had a few suggestions to cut back channels and change my TV package, but the savings weren't enough.  I decided to drop satellite TV.  I was worried about how my family would react, but the change has been positive- not just saving money.

Can People Survive without the NFL Channel?

When I cut the cable, football season was fast approaching.  On Saturdays, I often watched college football on ESPN, ESPN2, and the Big Ten Channel.  On Sundays and Thursdays, plenty of NFL football could be found on the NFL channel.  I was worried enough that I actually put my satellite service "on pause" rather than completely cancelling it.  That way I could resume without starting a new 2 year service plan in case I just couldn't make it without satellite TV.

57 Channels and Nothing On...
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

As fortune would have it, I came into a bit of extra cash and bought an indoor HD TV antenna for about $45.  This seemed like a real bargain compared with $120 per month, every month, for the rest of my life for satellite TV or cable TV.  In my area, I can get ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and several PBS stations.  It is great to be able to get local news and weather reports.  The TV stations have been broadcasting in HD for several years now- the picture I get with my indoor HDTV antenna looks great.

I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of NFL football I can watch over the air for free.  Plenty of college games too.  For the games I can't watch, I can see highlights on Sportscenter and similar sports shows.

How Did My Family React to Cutting TV?

I was surprised how little reaction there was to the decision to cut satellite TV in my house.  My wife and kids watch Netflix, and we kept Netflix, so no change there.  I though it was really interesting that no one really missed getting all of those channels.  It mainly affected me since I liked having a lot of options for watching football, but I was willing to try something new to save $1400 per year.

Some of the Hawkeye football games were on the Big Ten Network, which I could no longer watch.  I ended up listening to some of these games on the radio out in the garage.  This was actually better in some ways, since I would work on my car or work on other projects in the garage while I listened to the games.  If I had the game available on TV, I would have been sitting on the couch watching it.

Another benefit of having free TV- it takes much less time to determine that nothing is on!  With hundreds of channels, you can spend an entire evening channel surfing.  When you only have about 5 channels to check, you can quickly determine that there is nothing on and then do something else.

When we had satellite TV, we often had the TV on from 7pm until 10pm every night.  Now, the TV is on only a few nights per week, and usually only for an hour or so.  With less stuff on TV, we spend less time watching TV.

We used to keep our Xbox video game system downstairs and had our main TV upstairs.  Since we don't watch TV much anymore, we moved the Xbox upstairs.  Instead of having two living rooms, we only really use one now.  It seems like a better arrangement to have everyone gather in the same area instead of having two gathering areas in the house.

How To Survive Without Paying For TV

My experience with free TV has been good so far.  The savings in money has been significant, but savings in time has been significant as well.  It seems like my family spends more time doing things other than watching TV and looking for something to watch on TV, and I think that is a good thing.

Get Free TV with an Indoor HD TV antenna
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

If you are thinking about cutting the cable and not paying for TV anymore, here are some tips:
  • Get Netflix for $8 per month- you'll have access to tons of TV shows that you can watch whenever you want on your TV or on your computer.
  • Get an indoor HDTV antenna- get free high definition TV over the air.  Watch live news, weather, sports, and network TV shows for free.  Here is the HD TV antenna that I use:  RCA ANT1650F Flat Digital Amplified Indoor TV Antenna

Recommended Reading:
This article has details on selecting and installing an indoor HD TV antenna to get free TV: Cut Cable TV and Save $1200 per Year

Copyright © 2014 by Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy

Friday, May 9, 2014

Malwarebytes: Free Anti-Malware Software Download

Malwarebytes: How to Remove Malware from Your Computer for Free!

See below for link to download Malwarebytes anti-malware software for free...

Malwarebytes anti-malware software- free download!
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

If your computer is running slowly, it may simply be slowed down by extra plug-ins, toolbars, and other unneeded software and files that have been installed.  You can download SlimCleaner for free to clean files and extra programs from to speed up your computer and make it run faster.

If your computer is running really slowly, it may be infected with malware.  Malware is software that attacks your computer and may use some of your computer's resources for malicious tasks such as sending spam e-mail or trying to break into other computer systems.  You can download Malwarebytes anti-malware software for free to scan your computer and remove any malware.

Free Malware Scan with Malwarebytes anti-malware

After downloading Malwarebytes anti-malware, click the "Update Now" option to update the malware database.  Then click the green "Scan Now" button to start a scan.  Scanning a computer can take about 30 minutes or so, depending on the size of your hard drive and how many files you have to scan.

At the end of the scan, you can see how many malware items were detected and you have the opportunity to remove the malware.  My son was able to remove a really pesky malware called V9 from his computer using Malwarebytes anti-malware.  V9 had infected his Internet Explorer and Chrome Browsers and I was not able to uninstall V9 using windows tools.  Malwarebytes took care of V9 easily.

Malware Threats Detected During Malwarebytes Scan
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

On my computer, I noticed that Malwarebytes detected a few items that I would not consider malware, so it is important to review the list and make sure you are not deleting items that you installed and use that you are certain are not malware.

Malware Threats Removed After Scan
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Malwarebytes performs the following steps to scan your computer for malware:

  • Pre-scan Operations
  • Memory Objects
  • Startup Objects
  • Registry Objects
  • Filesystem Objects
  • Heuristic Analysis

Clicking the Scan Now button will automatically run through all of these steps to scan your computer for malware threats.  At the end of the scan, you will be able to review the list of all of the malware threats found and apply actions to quarantine and delete the malware threats.

How to Get Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Software for Free

Here's the link to download Malwarebytes anti-malware software for free from the malwarebytes website at
Download Malwarebytes anti-malware software

Recommended Reading:
Use SlimCleaner to clean up unneeded files and speed up your computer
How to Speed Up Windows 7 using Windows utilities
How to use a USB memory stick to Speed Up Windows Vista and Windows 7 with ReadyBoost

Copyright © 2014 by Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy

SlimCleaner: Speed up Your Computer for Free!

SlimCleaner: Free Computer Speed Up!

See below for link to download SlimCleaner for free from Slimware Utilities...

Use SlimCleaner to Speed Up Your Computer for Free!
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

For years, I have used Norton Utilities to keep my computer tuned up.  My son's Windows 7 laptop was running very slowly and I had a chance to work on it.  I considered spending about $50 for Norton Utilities, but decide to check out free utilities to see what could be done for free to speed up my computer.

You Can Download SlimCleaner for Free
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

I came upon a free program called SlimClean from Slimware Utilities.  SlimClean has several tools to speed up your PC by deleting extra files and software that seems to get installed whenever you download something. SlimClean also optimizes start-up programs and Windows services to speed up your computer.  SlimClean uses feedback from users to help determine which services and programs are not needed.

SlimClean also has disk tools including a disk defragmentation tool and disk wiping tools, and tools to find and eliminate duplicate files.  Other tools include the ability to review all of your browsers and remove unwanted toolbars.  This can make web browsers run much faster.  You can also scan for "hijack" threats based on input from users on the web to help identify malicious files.

SlimCleaner Start-up Screen
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

How to Use SlimCleaner to Speed Up Your Computer

When you launch SlimCleaner, it automatically updates the software to the latest version and offers you an button that says "Analyze".  When you click this, SlimCleaner will search your hard drive for unneeded files including cookies and temporary files.  Next, you are offered a chance to defragment your hard drive.  This is a process that places files near each other on the hard disk, reducing access time and allowing your computer to run faster.

You can select the Optimize menu and review community ratings for drivers and plug-ins that are installed and decide whether to delete them.

SlimCleaner Optimization Menu
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

The Software menu provides a list of all of your installed software along with community ratings of each of the software items so you can decide which to keep and which to delete.

The Browsers menu shows all of your installed web browsers and allows you to easily uninstall  unneeded toolbars to speed up your web browser.  The toolbars have community ratings to help you decide which are useful and which to delete.

The Disk Tools menu allows you to analyze your disk drives, find and remove duplicate files, and wipe data from drives.

The Windows Tools menu provides access to built-in Windows tools to speed up your computer such as Windows Update, the Services Monitor, Performance Monitor, etc.

The Hijack Log menu scans your computer for plugins and other software that could hijack your system and provides community ratings to help you decide what to keep and what to delete.

How to Get SlimCleaner for Free

I tried out SlimCleaner on my son's computer and was impressed enough to run it on my own computer as well.  It did make the boot-up time significantly shorter and does seem to make my computer run faster.

If you want to try SlimCleaner for free, here's the link to download from Slimware Utilities website
Free SlimCleaner Download

Recommended Reading:
Free Malware Scan Software to Speed Up Your Computer
How to Speed Up Windows 7 using Windows utilities
How to use a USB memory stick to Speed Up Windows Vista and Windows 7 with ReadyBoost

Copyright © 2014 by Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy

Sunday, April 20, 2014

New Car Smell- Use an Air Purifier in Your Car

Use an Air Purifier in Your Car- Get That New Car Smell

Today I used my Shop Vac to vacuum out the grime that had accumulated in my car over the winter.  I also used some Lemon Pledge furniture cleaner to clean the dashboard and plastic trim.  I was out of Armor All, and the Lemon Pledge worked great.

When I was done, my car was pretty clean inside, but it didn't smell clean.  My dogs enjoy going for rides, and my car smelled sort of doggy and stale, and a bit lemony from the Lemon Pledge spray.

I decided to bring out the big gun.  I just got a New Comfort 6 stage air purifier for my house.  It has 6 stages of filtration and can handle a 3,000 square foot area.  I decided to use this in my car.  I cracked the window just enough to get an extension cord in.

How to Use an Air Purifier in Your Car
How to Use an Air Purifier in Your Car- Run an Extension Cord Through the Window
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Next, I folded down the back seat so the air from the trunk could circulate as well and turned it on high.

Home Air Purifier Running in the Back Seat of My Car
Home Air Purifier Running in the Back Seat of My Car
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Get the New Car Smell Using an Air Purifier

The best way to address odors is to eliminate the source of the odor.  I vacuumed all of the fur and dust that I could, and got rid of some winter mittens and other gear that can hold odor.  Running the air purifier will remove odors from the air using its charcoal filter and some of the other filters as well.  As odor is released, the air purifier absorbs it and over time the source of the odor is exhausted.

Of course, you can buy an air freshener for your car for a couple bucks, but the chemical smell gives me headaches.  I wanted my air to actually be clean, so I cleaned it using my house air purifier.

Use an Air Purifier to Get that New Car Smell
Use an Air Purifier to Get that New Car Smell
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

If your car has cigarette odor, you can use the ozone setting on an air purifier.  I did not use the ozone production on mine- ozone is hazardous and can damage plastic parts.

You can learn more about the New Comfort air purifier here.  This air purifier moves a lot of air and has filter stages that remove pollen, dust, germs and odors from your air.  This air purifier even has a UV light that kills viruses and bacteria.

Air Purifier for Cars

If you want to purify the air in your car all the time when you are driving, you can get air purifiers for cars that run on 12V power.  Some of these filters have features similar to home air filters, but are smaller and have less air circulation capacity.

What is the New Car Smell?  Is it Toxic?

The "new car smell" in a new car is actually the smell of formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds off gassing from the upholstery, glues, and plastic materials in the new car.  People think of the new car smell as a good thing since it is associated with new cars, but it is not very healthy to breathe.  If you have a new car- or a new house-you might want to use an air purifier to absorb the harmful chemicals or leave your windows down to let that new car smell air out.

Recommended Reading:
The Sales Pitch: How to Sell Anything is an article about how a great sales pitch can get people to buy things they don't need and can't afford.  How do great salesmen get you to buy things?

Copyright © 2014 by Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Is Remodeling A Good Investment?

Should I Remodel my Kitchen and Bathroom?

Dear Dr. Penny Pincher,

Our house was built in 1912. The kitchen and bathrooms are dated and probably need updating.  For example the kitchen countertops are circa 1980. The bathrooms were updated about the same time.  Both areas are acceptable functionally and aesthetically. Due to our age we will probably sell the house and move to and apartment or condo in the future. Should we consider doing updates to enhance the value and selling potential of the house or leave both areas as they are?  What are other considerations in this decision?


A Penny Pincher Follower

Dear Follower,

It is always painful to spend money, but it is less painful when you know you can get some or all of your money back.  Real estate is generally a good investment, but a real estate investment comes with expenses such as paying property taxes and upkeep on the property.

The good news about kitchen and bath remodeling projects is that you typically get about 50 to 70% of the money you spend on remodeling back in the form of increased property value.  For example, if you spend $10,000 on kitchen and bath upgrades you may be able to sell your home for $5,000 to $7,000 more.  As you can see, you do not typically get all of the money you spend on remodeling back.

Kitchen and bath remodeling are among the highest payback projects that you can do.  If you have the money, remodeling projects can be rewarding and can help you stay in your current house longer.  When you sell your house, you'll likely pay around 6% commission to a real estate agent.  It may be worth spending some money to avoid that expense.  This article has some estimates of how much different remodeling projects add to the value of your home.  I think some of these numbers seem a bit high, but this provides an idea of what type of projects add the most value.

While a good remodeling project can increase the value of a home, a poorly done project or unfinished project can decrease the value of a home.  A lot of potential home buyers will not even consider buying a house that needs work done.  

I would suggest setting a budget for your remodeling project and trying to get the most improvement you can for your budget.  It is a good idea to get estimates from several contractors and pick one with good references.

Good Luck!

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