Kathy Foran - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West



Posted by Kathy Foran on 2/5/2012

The temperature is dropping and the heating bills are going up. Some quick and easy tips will have you saving money this winter on home heating bills. 1. Set your thermostat back. For every degree you set your thermostat back over eight hours, youíll save about 1 percent on your heating bill each year. 2. Use a space heater. If you spend most of your time in one area of your home it is less expensive to use a space heater than turn up the heat in your entire home. 3. Open blinds during the day to let sun in. At dusk, close them to trap heat. 4. Inspect weather stripping around exterior doors. Replace old, cracked, or missing stripping. 5. If heat is escaping at your doors, attach a sweep to the bottom of the doors. Sweeps are flexible plastic strips that are easily screwed to door bottoms, and keep cold air out from below. 6. Fill gaps around windows with interior and exterior caulking. If cold air is coming in around the sashes, install appropriate weather stripping.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 1/1/2012

The topic of money can be difficult but for couples it is often one of the most fought about issues. It is important that couples take the time to discuss finances and set financial goals. A well thought-out plan will keep your relationship healthy and keep you both moving toward your goals. Follow these tips to help keep the lines of communication open. 1. Don't Stop Talking. Money is still a taboo topic and we often donít have a clear idea about how our partner thinks or feels when it comes to spending versus saving. Talking about your goals with your partner is a simple way to make sure youíre both on the same page when it comes to your finances. 2. Find Balance. Balance power around money. One person making all the decisions and having all the control when it comes to finances is often a recipe for disaster. Find ways for you both to be equally engaged in all money decisions. 3. Create a System. Have a clearly defined money management system that covers everything from who handles the mail to who sends out the checks. Without a well thought-out plan in place, itís more likely that things won't fall through the cracks. 4. Immediately Address Problems. When problems arise, address them immediately (no secrets allowed). Avoiding the issue only makes it more toxic and drives a wedge in the relationship. 5. Have Annual Checkups. Schedule an annual money checkup. Things change and just like our physical health, money management needs an annual checkup to keep it healthy and relevant. Set aside time to sit down with each other and evaluate whatís working, what needs to be fixed and address any questions or concerns that either of you may have.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 11/25/2011

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 68įF 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? ó 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.