Ben Esposito - RE/MAX Real Estate Center



Posted by Ben Esposito on 7/22/2018

There are more cleaning supplies on the market than ever before. If you walk down the cleaning section of Target you'll find an array of brooms, scrubbers, and solutions that are all variations on the same simple ideas. Furthermore, these products have begun capitalizing on single-use components like a sweeper with throwaway pads or disposable dusters. All of these expenses add up and before you know it you're spending up to $70 each month just on cleaning supplies. Fortunately, many frugal consumers have noticed this trend and have come up with creative ways to save money on cleaning.In this article, we'll cover some frugal cleaning products and solutions that will save you a ton of money at the checkout line.

Sweeping, dusting, and mopping

Let's face it, the Swiffer is a great invention. It mops, sweeps, and dusts without the mess of a bucket of water. Plus it's lightweight and versatile making it useful for many surfaces around the home. The down side? Having to buy all of those expensive replacement pads. If you're like me, you feel a twinge of guilt whenever you throw out at item that seems wasteful. For me, cleaning supplies are the epitome of wastefulness. So, instead of using the throwaway pads you could do a a few things. First, you could buy a reusable pad online. Some are designed to fit various sweepers. Alternatively, there are some cloths that you can buy at your local dollar store that will fit onto your sweeper just fine. Once one gets dirty, put the next one on and sink wash them all when you're done. The other option is to knit or crochet your own sweeper cover. There are lots of patterns online that will help you get started, plus a hand-made cloth adds more meaning to the mundane work of sweeping the house. For those spots you don't dust with yoursweeper-duster (like a TV, or the tops of picture frames), you could always dust with your useddryer sheets that you'd otherwise just toss in the trash. Keep them in a bag in your cabinet so you remember to use them.

Go paperless

Paper towels and napkins are always expensive and seldom on sale. Plus, all that paper usage does a number on the environment. Instead of reaching for a paper towel at dinner, keep a stack of microfiber cloths, handkerchiefs, or hand towels. When this isn't possible, like in the case of a big cookout, use choose-a-size paper towels to get more usage out of a roll. And speaking of choosing a size, the next time you buy sponges or "magic erasers," cut them in half to double the length of time you can use them.

Cleaning solutions

Making your own cleaning solutions has many benefits. First, you get to save money because the supplies tend to be cheap, household items. Second, you get to avoid all of the harsh chemicals that are often added to commercial cleaners, helping your health and the environment. Third, you can make them in bulk and not have to worry about them running out. Recipes for homemade cleaning solutions and air fresheners are abundant online. In general, however, they rely on a few simple ingredients: water, vinegar, baking soda, and some type of citrus like lemons, limes, or oranges.





Posted by Ben Esposito on 1/15/2017

Choosing between satelllite television or a local provider in today's world is a lot more complicated than it was a decade ago. Cable TV has made a concentrated effort in the last decade to offer the channel variety of a satellite television service, while satellite television has tried to offer the same kind of bundle deals to their customers that make cable subscriptions so appealing to people who like the idea of an all-inclusive bill for their at-home entertainment. While both services can be very rewarding in terms of quality of service and variety, your family's entertainment needs will have to be ultimately considered if you want to make the best decision possible. In this guide, I will attempt to highlight the best features of each service, how they stack up to each other in terms of quality, and illuminate the potential drawbacks for each. Cable TV Cable television offers you an easy opportunity to condense all of your digital services into one package (Phone, tv, and internet.) While some satellite television companies offer similar packages, they usually have to hire a third-party company in order to be able to do so. And with cable television moving into the digital realm a little more every year, they are now finally providing picture quality that you could only previously get with satellite television. Additionally, you never have to worry about bad weather affecting your reception like you would if you were to chose a dish network. Also, many cable companies now offer DVR as part of their digital packages, which allows you to pause, record, and rewind any program you'd like, a service only previously available to satellite customers. If your family's home entertainment needs center around fast, high-quality internet service, and your television requirements can be satisfied without needing hundreds of channels, a cable television package will definitely suit your needs. Satellite TV While it may sound like Cable TV is the more appealing option at this point, you must consider a few things; namely, Satellite TV absolutely trumps cable in terms of the sheer variety of programs and content. Dish TV boasts a roster of 250+ channels, and the number is always growing. That includes over 80 PPV channels, whereas cable can only manage about 40. In addition, satellite television offers you a slew of international programming that a cable service simply cannot compete with. Dish TV also consistently outperforms Cable in terms of customer service ratings. But while Dish TV currently has the edge in terms of variety, your access to local programming is pretty limited. And, as mentioned previously, reception can be an issue during inclement weather. Your property will also need to have an unobstructed view of the sky in order to receive optimal reception, which can be a problem for some homeowners. As far as pricing is concerned, your television needs may be the determining factor. If having television in every room is a must for you, then opting for a cable package may suit your needs better. Satellite companies tend to offer per room fees, which can be expensive in the event that you would like the service to extend beyond one or two televisions. There is also the equipment cost to consider. While opting for a satellite package may cost you more money up front, your monthy bill will more often than not be lower than a cable package, as maintainance costs tend to be lower. For additional information on cable television, please visit www.comcast.com or www.verizon.com/fios For additional information on satellite television, please visit www.directstartv.com or www.dish.com    




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Posted by Ben Esposito on 12/11/2016

Whether you call it a "rainy day fund" or a "financial cushion", having some money set aside for emergencies or unexpected expenses can help keep life on an even keel.

Although health insurance and a homeowners' policy can provide a measure of protection, insurance deductibles can take a large bite out of your bank account.

In addition to all the predictable expenses that accompany home ownership, mechanical systems like furnaces, hot water heaters, and air conditioning units have a way of breaking down at the most inopportune times. Another crisis that many people aren't prepared for is the potential loss of a job. When families don't have money set aside to weather the storm of an unplanned income loss, then there's no "safety net" to cushion the fall.

Strategies For Saving Money

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to build up financial reserves, but it often requires self discipline, a new set of habits, and the intention to make it happen. One of the first steps to putting some money aside for a rainy day is to open up a separate bank account. If you put extra money in your regular account -- or (even worse) keep it around the house -- chances are it will get spent pretty quickly. However, if it's deposited into a separate account that's designated for emergencies, unexpected household expenses, or even a college fund, then it'll stand a greater chance of being left alone until it's needed. Putting money aside does take some doing, but it can contribute to your family's financial security and ability to do things that are important to you.

If you have a tight budget, you're probably wondering where this extra money is going to come from! Sometimes, the very act of developing a written budget can provide you with clues and ideas for reducing your expenses. You'd also be amazed at how much the savings can add up when you comparison shop, buy in bulk, use coupons, negotiate lower interest charges on your credit cards, quit smoking, car pool to work, cut back on restaurant food, and make up your mind to live just a little more frugally.

Depending on how committed you are to creating a financial cushion, you could also make the fund grow faster by depositing a percentage of Christmas bonuses, tax refunds, manufacturer rebates, salary increases (raises), and other sources of extra income. Additional ways to beef up your financial safety net could include getting a part-time job, doing freelance work, holding a garage sale, or selling unwanted items through ads or flyers. When you pay off credit cards, car loans, or other debts, you could also redirect some or all of those monthly payments into your "future needs fund."

Whatever you decide to call it, it's nice to know that there's some extra money on hand for unexpected expenses, emergencies, potential job losses, college tuition, weddings, family vacations, home renovations, nursing home costs, or even retirement.






Posted by Ben Esposito on 11/20/2016

Greening up your home is not only good for the environment it is also good on your wallet. According to the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. generates about 208 million tons of municipal solid waste a year, that's more than 4 pounds per person per day. Here are some minor changes you can implement at home that will add up to real benefits. Green up your appliances Replace your old refrigerator and save as much as $150 a year. Appliances are the biggest drain on a home's total energy bill. Replace appliances older than 10 years with energy-efficient models that bear the "Energy Star" logo. Energy Star-qualified appliances use 10%-50% less energy and water than standard models. Take Your Temperature Use a programmable thermostat to keep your home's temperature on a schedule. Program the thermostat in cold weather and keep it higher in warm weather. Set the timer to only change the temperature when you are home. During the colder months, each degree below 68F saves 3%-5%. You may also want to consider replacing older furnaces. Today's furnaces are about 25% more efficient than they were in the 1980s. Use Water Wisely Save every time you flush by installing low-flow toilets. They use only 1.6 gallons per flush, compared to 3.5 gallons per flush for pre-1994 models. Save water at your faucets by installing aerators. This could cut your annual water consumption by 50%. Let there be Light Using Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) will consume 66% less energy. CFLs may cost a little more but they last 10 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb. In dollars and cents, replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 32-watt CFL can save $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. Practice Plastic Placement Did you know Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags? Plastics (grocery, trash and sandwich bags to name a few) are made from petroleum. Plastics are considered one of the main contributors to global warming. Always make sure to reduce, re-use and recycle your plastics. There are many more ways to live green. If you are looking for more ideas check out National Geographic's Green Guide. Please share your tips for saving money, energy and living green.





Posted by Ben Esposito on 10/23/2016

Money experts recommend having an emergency fund, however, that is easier said than done. You will want to have at least three to six months of living expenses in your emergency fund. Here are some tips on how to get there: Determine how much you need Calculate how much you spend each month. Add up your rent/mortgage, car payments, insurance, food and utilities. This will give you an idea of how much you will need to save. Start small If you find it hard to save, start by saving small amounts. Even if you only saved $20 per week for one year, you would increase your savings account by $1040.00 Have achievable goals Start with a small goal and gradually work towards a larger one. Set your initial goal of one month's savings and build upon that. If you start small and make savings a habit it will be easier to save. Make it automatic Set up automatic contributions to your savings account. Move a specified amount of money to your savings account through direct deposit. If you do this you may not even miss the money. Watch where your money goes Keep track of how much money you spend. Calculate your spending average and try to spend less. Another great way to save is to find areas where you can cut back. What are some of your best tips for saving money?  




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