Kathy Foran - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West

Posted by Kathy Foran on 3/9/2014

In the course of a lifetime people encounter many money milestones. It can be difficult at times to know what to do with our money when we go through significant changes in life. Here are some of the major money milestones people encounter: Marriage: According to TheKnot.com, Americans spend an average of $27,000 on a wedding. So vow not to start off your marriage in debt. Curb spending on the big day by cutting expenses where possible. Buying a Home: Experts recommend saving for a 20% down payment for a home. Make sure to shop for a home loan and plan to spend no more than 30% of your taxable income on housing. Starting a Family: The average cost of raising a child is $235,000, not including college. Plan your household costs to increase 10 to 20% with the addition of a baby. Getting a Divorce: Divorce is expensive. Build a team of professionals who are knowledgeable about the implications of divorce, you will need a lawyer, accountant and financial advisor. Retirement: 56% of Americans ages 18 to 34 aren't saving for retirement. Take advantage of your employer’s 401(k) or other sponsored retirement plan. A good plan is to save five percent of your income.  

Posted by Kathy Foran on 12/29/2013

Unlike most other investments, your home can actually make money for you. Using energy efficiency tax credits, making shrewd decisions about home improvement projects, and taking advantage of the work shortage in the building industry can all put cash in your pocket. As ranked by Remodeling magazine, here are some top money-making remodels:

1. Installing a new entry door (steel)
New entry door (steel)
Job cost: $1,218
Value added: $1,243
Cost recouped: 102%
2. Garage door replacement
Garage door replacement
Job cost: $1,291
Value added: $1,083
Cost recouped: 84%
3. Minor kitchen remodel
Minor kitchen remodel
Job cost: $21,695
Value added: $15,790
Cost recouped: 73%
4. Deck addition (wood)
Deck addition (wood)
Job cost: $10,973
Value added: $7,986
Cost recouped: 73%
5. New siding (vinyl)
New siding (vinyl)
Job cost: $11,357
Value added: $8,223
Cost recouped: 72%

Posted by Kathy Foran on 5/6/2012

Has that monthly cable bill got you down? That bill can really add up so if you are looking to cut down on the monthly expenses follow these ideas from Money Magazine. Cable TV's $50-plus monthly cost may be unavoidable for sports fans and news junkies -- but if you just want a good selection of TV and movies, try a combo of these online services. Netflix Who it's for: The movie buff Typical fare: "True Grit," "The African Queen," "Downton Abbey" Thumbs up: Get instant access to newish movies, sturdy classics, and past seasons of TV series. Thumbs down: New movies may not be available as quickly as on DVD. Many titles in Netflix's DVD library, which costs extra to use, aren't offered at all. $8/month (streaming video only); netflix.com Hulu Plus Who it's for: The TV junkie Typical fare: "The Daily Show," 37 years of "Saturday Night Live," "Smiles of a Summer Night" Thumbs up: Catch the full current season of popular network and cable shows, along with archives of past episodes and a smattering of art-house flicks. Thumbs down: Just as with free TV, periodic advertisements may interrupt your show. $8/month; hulu.com Amazon Who it's for: The impatient grazer Typical fare: "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Glee" (Season 2), "Moneyball" ($4) Thumbs up: Enjoy a little-known perk for paying $80 a year for Amazon Prime two-day shipping: Have instant access to shows and movies at no extra cost. Separately, get new films on pay-per-view. Thumbs down: Selection is smaller than Netflix's. $80/year (Prime), $2-$4 (PPV); amazon.com The Hardware Made Easy The simplest way to enjoy these services, once you've signed up, is to sit at your computer and stare. But you can do better. To watch on a tablet: Just download the relevant app and sign up. Netflix and Hulu Plus work on iPads and Android tablets, while Amazon is built into a Kindle Fire. To watch on your TV: Connect your PC by wire to your set. Buy a Roku settop box (starts at $50), which lets you send video wirelessly over a home network to your set. Or use a networked Blu-ray or videogame player, which probably has the necessary software built in. Smart Shopping Connect on the cheap: When you're making a PC-to-TV connection, don't get roped into spending more than you need to. Ask The Help Desk To get a video signal from most new computers (and other video gadgets) to most new TVs, you'll need what's known as an HDMI cable. You can spend anywhere from $25 to $100 for a brand-name beauty -- or get the same quality link from a generic HDMI that costs $5 on Amazon.com.

Tags: Save Money   money   cable bill  
Categories: Money Saving Tips  

Posted by Kathy Foran on 4/15/2012

Whether you crave a fresh salad, a little chocolate or a new laptop, you can probably find a deal this month. April showers? Get a slicker at less-than-sticker price. Want to turn that patio or deck into your home-outside-of-home for the next five months? You might find decent discounts on furniture, containers and flowering plants. Whether you want to add a little spring zing to your menu, home or attitude, Bankrate.com has compiled a list of more than 20 items from on which you can find discounts, deals and sales this month. April holidays mean deals on candy, from chocolate bunnies to jelly beans. Early in April, the biggest discounts are on Easter candy: treats such as "chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs filled with peanut butter or cream or different confections," says Denise Alvarez, marketing manager for Retail Confectioners International, an association of independently owned candy producers and retailers. In many cases, shoppers will find discounts of 10 percent to 15 percent, she says. If you love the candy but don't care about the calendar, the days after Easter (April 8) are a candy lover's bonanza. Anything themed that can't be repackaged for other holidays can be up to half off, she says. If your tastes run toward the nonchocolate, April 22 brings National Jelly Bean Day. Depending on the retailer, you could find discounts on jelly beans of up to 10 percent to 20 percent, Alvarez says. April is a good time to save on TVs, laptops and tablets -- oh my. "April is actually a pretty good month for both televisions and laptops," says. "Part of it is because it's the end of the model year. And it's the end of the fiscal year for Japanese companies -- they're trying to clear the books." Generally, shoppers can expect discounts of about 10 percent on TVs and laptops, he says. With TVs, "it's really all over the place," depending on the company and the model, he says. TVs without some of the latest high-tech features (such as Internet interface or 3-D) might offer greater discounts, he says. Ditto with laptops. The big influx of "ultrabooks" (lightweight, superthin, shorter boot times and longer battery lives), means shoppers can find bigger discounts on more traditional models, Barry says. Mother's Day, graduations and Father's Day come in May and June, and that means good prices in April on accessories for electronics -- things such as cases, docking stations and carrying bags, Barry says. April brings savings on party supplies and kids' dress clothes. Want to get a good deal on kids' dress clothes? During the first week of April (right before Easter and Passover), parents will see dress clothing marked down by 25 percent to 50 percent, says Daniel Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation. There are two times of year when parents try to outfit their children in dress clothes: just before winter and spring holidays, he says. Bargains include everything from baby and toddler sizes to juniors and young men's sizes, he says. The only problem for bargain hunters is that it's a short window of just one week, Butler says. Got a spring party planned? When it comes to items such as balloons, costumes, place mats and special dinnerware, you could find deals of 25 percent to 50 percent off during the first week of April, Butler says. If you wait, the real deals come after the holidays, when you can find the same items for 40 percent to 70 percent off, he says. With April weather a peril, buy apparel at a discount. April showers bring not just May flowers, but also deals on rain gear, says Daniel Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation. Shoppers will see discounts on lightweight weather gear -- such as umbrellas, slickers and jackets -- for 20 percent to 30 percent off, he says. If you would rather plan for sunny weather, you can likely find bargains on swimwear in April. Many stores mark swimsuits down by 25 percent to 50 percent, Butler says. Warm-weather casual clothes, such as shorts, T-shirts and tank tops, are popping up at 25 percent to 40 percent off, he says. Your supermarket will have plenty of produce on sale in April. If the weather stays warm, leaf lettuce should be a great value in April, says James Parker, facility team leader for the global produce buying office of Whole Foods Market. He lists romaine, green leaf, red leaf and butter lettuce. Grape or cherry tomatoes are another good buy in April. Instead of price cuts, look for larger amounts sold at the same price, Parker says. Prices on artichokes, asparagus, strawberries and mangos dropped in March, and, if the weather holds, supplies will be even more plentiful in April, Parker says. Consumers could see either lower prices or larger portions for the same price. April brings plenty more bargains in produce, including for red peppers. In general, hothouse peppers will run about $2 to $4 a pound, while peppers grown in the field will be about $1 to $2 a pound, Parker says. Consumers should also see some good buys on broccoli and cauliflower, he says. If the favorable weather continues, prices for both will go down about one-third in April, Parker says. In April, you can find deals on outdoor furniture, clay pots and some blooming plants. You might not get the best prices on outdoor living goods in April, but that doesn't mean you can't find a discount. If you're in the market for some patio furniture, you can find markdowns of 20 percent to 30 percent in April, says Daniel Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation. In April, many garden centers run specials on terra cotta pots -- a favorite for container gardening, says P. Allen Smith, author of "Living in the Garden Home" and host of "P. Allen Smith Gardens." While the discounts aren't as big as you'd score in October (as much as 80 percent off), you can get deals of up to 20 percent off, he says. Nurseries and garden centers will also run superlow prices on select items in April, hoping that you'll buy other things once you're in the store. So look for loss-leader prices on things such as hanging baskets of blooming plants and flats of perennials, Smith says. Discounted spa services deliver a less stressful April. Longing for an hour of "me time" sometime in April? For Spa Week (April 16 to 22), more than 800 participating spas are offering promotional deals, says Lynne McNees, president of the International Spa Association. You get an hour of services for $50, she says. That can be anything from a single facial or massage to a combination of treatments. "You really can get anything you want," McNees says. "It depends on the spa in your area." April is Stress Awareness Month. Many spas and health clubs offer free or discounted classes, seminars and services aimed at stress reduction, McNees says. This can include classes on meditation or how to multitask without losing your mind.

Tags: money   when to buy  
Categories: Money Saving Tips  

Posted by Kathy Foran on 3/11/2012

Is there really a secret to saving money? It may seem as though it is mystery how your bank account ends up empty every month but there is no mystery to it. While it may be no secret there are three important tips you can follow to help you put more money in your pocket. The challenge is to follow the tips in order to be successful at saving money. The rest is up to you.

1. Create a Budget

You need to know where your money is going. Once you have established where you spend your money you will be able to find places to make cuts. The first thing to do is figure out how much is being spent on housing, utilities, groceries, debt, and entertainment. Once you know where the money is going you will be able to set limits for problem areas. This is the money that you will apply to secret #2.

2. Pay Yourself First

This is a huge secret, pay yourself first. Yes, before you dole out money for bills as soon as your paycheck hits your account; deposit a specified amount into savings. It doesn't matter how small the amount is, at least you are saving. Even better , create an automatic savings plan that will automatically deposit money into your savings account before you even have a chance to spend it. This can be done right through your employer’s direct deposit or with a recurring transfer with your bank.

3. Spend Less Than You Earn

If you don't learn to obey this rule you will never be able to save money. You simply have to spend less money than you earn and there’s no way around that. If you are spending more than you earn you are borrowing money and thus putting yourself into debt.  

Categories: Money Saving Tips