Are You Moving During Spring Time? Here’s How

While it might seem like New Years was just last weekend, the spring season is creeping up on us faster than we might have expected. Spring is a popular time for people to move into a new house. However, whether you bought a house or you’re switching to a new rental, the moving process is certainly a tedious one. Being that it’s winter, and the will to do anything but eat comfort foods and stay cozy is anything but strong. This inturn makes the prospect of carrying out a move a dreadful one. But, that doesn’t mean it has to be.

If you’re moving out during the springtime, here are a few ways to tackle the move and get everything out in one piece.

Start Spring Cleaning Early

Arguably one of the worst parts about moving isn’t the moving itself, but the cleaning that comes along with it. When you’re living in a place, it’s easy to look over certain stains and scuffs. This isn’t the case when you begin move-out cleaning because security deposits are on the line. If you begin the cleaning process now, you won’t have to do as much work down the road. Target one room at a time. Scrub the shower and sink to remove soap scum. Pull out the fridge and other appliances to sweep out dirt. While these things might get dirty again, they’ll be much easier to clean down the road.

Keep in mind that some cleaning tasks should be saved for down the road, such as carpet cleaning since a handful of landlords will require that you have the carpets professionally cleaned before you move out.

Declutter Your Space

One of our favorite moving tips and tricks is saying farewell to a portion of what you own. For most people, the idea of tossing out a portion of their belongings is a terrifying one; it doesn’t have to be. Watch a little bit of Marie Kondo, sort through your belongings, and say goodbye to all of the items that you just don’t need anymore. This goes for anything from clothing, to appliances, to gear, to decorations, and beyond! For each item you debate parting with ask yourself the following questions:

  • How often do I use this?
  • Is there a use in the foreseeable future? 
  • Does it fit?
  • Is it broken at all?
  • Will it be functional in the new space?

Those are just a few of many questions to ask yourself as you begin the decluttering process. At the end of the day, the less you have to move, the better!

Scope Out Moving Companies

Don’t wait until the last minute to choose a moving company; the further advance you book someone, the better. Because spring is a busy time to move, you might have issues finding an available company if you wait until the last minute. Even more so, some places will offer discounts if you book in advance.

Create a Budget

Last but not least, one of the most important moving tips we can provide you with is to make a budget. Moving can become expensive, especially when you begin to add up the little things. While most people are aware of the costs associated with movers, security deposits, cleaning fees, and more obvious pieces, they might not be aware of some of the less obvious expenses. Make sure to account for supplies, gas, food—especially if you’ll be without a kitchen—car registration, car licenses, and more.

The expenses that come with moving out of state will likely be higher than if you were to move somewhere within the state. Make sure you make a budget that accounts for everything.

In Conclusion

Moving is certainly a stressful task, but with some planning and patience, you’ll breeze through everything and get settled into your new space before you know it!

Where Charitable Giving Falls Under Your Debt Repayment Plan

If you’re like most Americans, you’re spending at least some part of your monthly paycheck covering debt, whether it be from school, medical expenses, credit card spending, or something else entirely. Experts recommend spending between 10 to 20 percent of your monthly income on debt repayment, but some spend 36 percent or more.

When you’re spending a big chunk of your income on fighting debt, it can be difficult to find room for other things, including charitable giving. Roughly 43 percent of respondents in the 2018 Global Trends in Giving Report stated that they simply don’t give because they don’t have the financial resources.

Today, I want to help you understand where your charitable giving can fall inside a tight budget. Despite what you may think, it’s still possible to give to others, even when you’re struggling to make ends meet yourself.

First Things First: Understand What’s Important to You

If you arbitrarily pick a cause to donate to, you likely won’t share a strong personal connection with the organization or event. This can lead you to slack on your donations and push them to the back of your priorities.

To spark your interest and keep yourself engaged in giving, you need to find a charitable cause that’s close to your heart. Think about what matters most to you.

Is it children in need? Research for certain medical disorders or diseases? Animals on the streets?

Research whatever cause it is that you want to support. Don’t pick the first charity that falls in the category you select. Instead, use a site like Charity Navigator to ensure you’re picking a non-profit organization that is well-respected and trustworthy.

Make Saving for Charity Just as Important as Saving for Yourself

Even if you’re consistently working to pay off debt, you’re probably saving for something. Maybe you’re maxing out your IRA contributions or you’re socking money away for that trip to Hawaii next year. Perhaps you’re starting an emergency fund or putting away funds each month for a new car.

Whatever you’re saving for, think about how you’re able to find the money for your goal every month. Then, apply the same strategy to saving for charity. My top recommendation is to open a separate savings account for charitable giving, then automate your savings for a certain cause every time you get paid.

Also, it’s a smart idea to set a goal for yourself that’s more specific than just “give to charity.” For instance, the goal I set for myself this year was to donate 5 percent of my total income to the cause of my choice. That’s a much more specific, measurable goal, and it makes it seem more important when I go through my monthly savings.

Find Ways to Make Your Donation More Substantial

Did you know that many employers have programs that will actually match your donations to charity? Take a few minutes to check with your HR department to see what your company’s policy is. Perhaps you can double your $50 donation in minutes simply by looking into the available programs at work.

Another option is to rope friends and family into your giving strategy. Facebook offers the option to request donations to a specific cause on your birthday. Instead of trying to find the funds yourself, try to educate others on causes that are important to you and pull donations in from other places.

In Conclusion

At the end of the day, giving $10 a month to a charity is better than giving nothing. Even if you’re strapped for cash and constantly working to climb out of debt, there are ways to secure extra funds to support causes you care about. It just takes time and dedication.

What costs the most on your energy bill?

High electricity bills can be a pain, especially when they catch you by surprise. Here’s everything you need to know to avoid any more unpleasant surprises.

Electricity bill running high? Find out why

The average electricity bills in Pennsylvania are not the highest in the US. But, during summer and winter, that boast can sour.

Why?

During summer, you consume more electricity by running your air conditioner around the clock to stay cool, especially with the recent summer heatwaves.

During winter, it’s more of the same, but this time, you’re consuming more electricity to stay warm.

Appliances like air conditioners, heaters, and dryers, are some of the highest energy consumers in your home, and they are the ones you use the most during peak summer and winter times.

Your bills are going to be even higher if you live in a large home with lots of occupants. For instance, a one-story building with two occupants will have a lower bill than a two-story with the same number of occupants. That’s because your cooling or heating system will consume more power to cool or warm a larger space.

Also, electricity providers tend to charge more during peak periods when electricity is in higher demand. The only way to dodge such spikes in electric rates is to be on a budget-friendly fixed-rate plan.

Which appliances use the most electricity?

Knowing which appliances are adding the most to your electric bill will help you better manage your consumption. The biggest culprits are:

Air conditioners                                       

All air conditioners consume a lot of electricity, but central air conditioners consume even more – up to 5 kWh (kilowatt-hours) and $60 a month. Considering that you run your air conditioner for hours on end in several rooms, it’s easy to see why your power bill would go up in summer.

Heating systems

When summer ends, you want to enjoy a brief financial reprieve from running your AC. Sadly, when winter comes, you need to stay warm, and using electricity to keep warm is just as expensive, if not more.

If you have a central heating system or separate systems to warm your water and rooms and you are running it around the clock, that’s a lot of money, especially in a big home.

Refrigerators and freezers

Your fridge and freezer are appliances that you probably never turn off. What you didn’t know is the average fridge consumes between 1 to 3 kWh per day. Freezers and larger fridges are worse, consuming around 8kWh per day.

Clothes dryer

You may not use your dryer often, but when you do, know that it uses around 3kWh.

If you are on a variable-rate electricity plan, using the above appliances during peak periods will cost more. Peak and off-peak periods vary from supplier to supplier, but generally, the off-peak periods when electricity rates are lower are late night and early morning.

Ways to be more mindful and help save energy and money!

The above appliances may consume a lot of electricity, but they are essential. To reduce the cost of running them and save money, consider trading your current appliances for more energy-efficient ones. Appliances that are Energy Star rated come highly recommended.

You can also reduce the cost of running your AC and heating system by properly insulating your home. The more insulated it is, the less heat or cold from outside can get in, and the less power your appliances will consume to keep your home comfortable. You can easily do this with heavy curtains over your doors and windows.

Consider using a fan now and then to stay cool and let your AC take a break. If you are on a variable-rate plan, use your dryer and other heavy appliances only during off-peak periods.

If you prefer a fixed plan, consider comparing electricity providers and switching to one that offers the lowest rates.

Adding a smart product like Nest to your home can also cut down your power consumption by helping you better manage how you use your heating and cooling systems.

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