Take Advantage of the Energy Efficiency Tax Credit – Improve Your Insulation

We’re getting very close to year’s end, which is a good time to review any tax-related items on your todo list, as well as look forward to next year with a plan in mind to help reduce your taxable income. For many, the 2013 tax year plans may be too late at this point if you don’t have a lot of free cash, but at least going through the options may help you plan for next year. One high priority item for me is to improve my home’s energy efficiency and take advantage of the federal tax credits before they expire this year.

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How to Save Money at Home Depot

For those of us who like to do a lot of DIY projects, or have homes that need some remodeling, we spend an awful lot of time at Home Depot and Lowe’s buying tools and supplies. So it can pay to know how to save money at Home Depot.

I’m currently mid-remodel on our master bathroom – and we’ve already done a total remodel of our kitchen, a powder room, and the entranceway. Plus lots of painting, some carpet and decorating many other rooms. That adds up to pretty big money all told. I’m always on the look out for ways to trim my home remodel expenses. Hopefully this guide will help you as well.

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Passive Solar Heating

When my wife and I purchased our home last year we ran into a neat feature I had never seen before: passive solar heating. Most of the articles you’ll find online use the same term for the planning, design and building of homes and buildings with an eye towards using thermal mass, windows, and sun orientation/angles to try and make use of the sun’s heat to  passively heat during the colder months and block the sun off during summer months. This is a nice concept, but doesn’t really help people who already have homes built or aren’t planning to do a huge makeover on the south-facing side of their homes. Ours is an actual system added to the home. From what we can tell it appears that the system was installed in the 1980’s when the original owner added an expansion to the second floor (more than a decade after the house was built). Continue reading

Net Worth: October 2013 Progress

The month of October was another good one for the stock market, and as a result a good one for me.

For background on the methodology and definitions, see Net Worth: September 2013 Progress.

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A Free Shed

Another score for our family! We’ve had a very full garage all summer and into the fall – filled with supplies for remodeling, strollers, toys, a wagon and a bunch of lawn items: lawn mower, trimmer, spreader, cart. It’s been so full we haven’t been able to fit my wife’s car in there. That’s fine when the weather’s nice, but we’re quickly approaching Winter here. And I fully subscribe to the “happy wife, happy life” philosophy. Brushing snow off the car at 4 am does not make for a happy wife.

The solution to this is pretty obvious to us: get a shed. We just didn’t have to time to go get one and it wasn’t in our budget in the short term. But we got lucky and scored one for free! Whoo hoo, free shed!

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Net Worth: September 2013 Progress

I figured I would follow the lead of Mr. 1500 and Net Worth Snowball and provide some regular updates on my own finances. My eventual goal is early retirement, but I have no exact date set and instead I’d like to track the numbers over time and do some calculations based on the numbers to see when I can expect to retire and how changes in my investments (rate of return), expenses and contributions will affect that.

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