Preparing for a home appraisal.

White subway tile backsplashWe have decided to take advantage of the low rates to save some money with a refinance. Of course, that means a few hoops, one of which is a home appraisal.

Learn from our mistakes.

We spent the better part of 4 days trying to prepare, when really all we needed was a day of cleaning up. We thought we needed to mark off some of the bigger to dos on our list, and while some of them may have really helped (like taking a few big things to the local donation center), most of them were not needed.

  • Showcase the kitchen and baths.
  • Make a list of all improvements that you have made to the home.
  • Make sure surfaces are clutter free, and clean.
  • Clean up around the outside (simple things if weather permits, like trimming back bushes, and making sure your porch is clean).
  • Open windows, even in the winter to get stale air out (close them before the appraisal though, no need to freeze).
  • Close toilet lids.
  • Empty the kitchen sink.
  • Vacuum.
  • Make all the beds.

I think that this list would have been enough for our appraisal. We went overboard, touching up paint, hanging up a drape we had meant to hang for awhile now, majorly deep cleaning the shower and bathroom (nice to have that done, but a simple clean would have been plenty), moving a lot of furniture and stuff out of our laundry room and over to my parent’s house, plus so much more.

What we learned was this isn’t an inspection, and unless you are selling you likely just need to go with the basics. The man was here maybe 15 mins, mostly looking into rooms to see how many of what type there were, and asking about upgrades.

As long as all your rooms are defined as what they are, a simple clean will be perfect. Learn from our mistake, don’t over do it.


This entry was posted in home.

How to save on cell phone bills.

This post is not sponsored in any way, it’s just what we have discovered for ourselves.

Recently we have been looking at ways to save money on our monthly bills. One thing we noticed was our cell phone bill. We had a family plan with a big company, but that plan was costing us $130 per month. That might not sound like a lot each month, but over the course of a year it adds up, $1560 to be exact. Ouch!

There were two services we found that could lower our costs. One is called Ting, the other is Republic Wireless. Both have plans, and no contracts, that start as low as $5-$6 dollars a month. Yes, you read that right, depending on your usage your bill could be that low. Ours will be higher than that, in the $30 a month range.

We went with Ting because they had more phone choices and better rates for our usage. Also, they are soon going to be able to use iPhone phones, which meant I wouldn’t have to buy a new phone to get on the plan (in Feb). Even with my husband purchasing a new phone, and me staying with our current plan for a month or so, we will still be saving during this first year, with even bigger savings during our following years.

We will be saving about $100 a month this way! Happy dance time!

I wanted to share this in case anyone else had been looking for ways to save on cell phones. It’s worth checking into. Both services have great reviews from users too.

Update: My tech wizard of a husband just explained to me that the type of phone you use will determine which network it is on. So with Ting he is on the Sprint network because he got a Samsung phone, but when iPhones come available on Ting they will be on the same network as AT&T (GSM). Republic Wireless uses the Sprint network, they have one type of phone available. Coverage so far has been great.

Worst Valentine Ever?

I spotted this gem at a store (that will remain nameless to protect the innocent) last year and had to snap a photo. Could this be the worst Valentine ever?

Worst Valentine EverOr is it possibly the best (if you have a certain sense of humor of course)?

What do you think? Would you give this beauty to your loved one? What would you think if you were on the receiving end?


This entry was posted in home.

Meal planning for easier living.

Something I have always wanted to do, but have not yet done, is utilize weekly meal planning. Thinking of what to make for lunch and dinner day in and day out is one of my least favorite things. It is also made harder due to diet restrictions.

Luckily, some of my fellow bloggers have some great meal planning printables to help make things easier:

I really want to start planning our meals not only to save some stress, but it’s also a great way to save money since there is less waste (planning ingredients to use in multiple meals, etc). It can also help in planning healthier meals as well.

Oh, and if you aren’t into the old school pen and paper, check out this article on Life Hacker about meal planning apps. They look pretty amazing.

What about you? Do you plan your meals ahead, or do you fly by the seat of your frying pan?

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