Monday Night Finance- Volume 46

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Cheapest Ways to Heat Your Home [Complete Guide]

We are now in the midst of winter. Not only are the days dark, but January represents the coldest month of the year for many states in the US. Cold weather isn’t just an inconvenience, but it can also be a financial burden as well. No matter how you heat your house, you need to pay for the energy to do it. But what is the cheapest way to do so? Should you keep your thermostat low and run space heaters? Or should you crank your furnace or boiler to provide comfort throughout the house? The answer depends partially on what kind of heating system your house has and how you live in your house.

After taking a hot shower to start your morning, you probably shut the door after you leave and never think twice about it. Instead, leave your shower and bathroom door upon after leaving. There are multiple benefits to this. Not only does the hot water disperse heat, but also the added humidity will make your room feel warmer than it really is. ~Don’t Work Another Day

If you have a natural gas furnace or boiler, you should definitely use it. In most of the US, natural gas is a very cheap energy source. (It can be difficult to understand this by looking at your utility bills because they use different units for gas and electricity). However, by doing some simple math converting “therms” or “ccf” of natural gas to kilowatt hours, you can see that natural gas is several hundred percent cheaper than electricity. If you have electric heat, it can be very expensive to heat your home. Installing an electric heat pump is more efficient than electrical resistance baseboards, but heat pumps cannot always supply enough energy to heat your house during the coldest times of year. While you can’t easily change your heating system, there are many other tricks and tips you can try to save energy- check out the article for all of the details.

Things I’m Doing Today to Make 2021 the Best Year Ever (Financially)

Did you set New Year’s resolutions in 2020? How did they turn out? If your resolutions involved hugging lots of strangers or traveling to new destinations, it probably wasn’t possible. Obviously the coronavirus defined 2020. But we are on the edge of 2021 and there is hope on the horizon. Are you setting goals for 2021? In this article Jim Wang, of shares his 2021 goals and how he is managing his finances to help get him there.

It’s been a difficult year for a lot of folks, but the one thing we’ve all come to recognize is that we are far stronger than we realize. As we finish out the year, I want to share a few things I’m doing today to make sure that 2021 will meet the expectations I set for 2020. ~Jim Wang of WalletHacks

The first step towards achieving your financial goals in 2021 is to take stock of where you are today. If you use CountAbout, you already know that CountAbout automatically tracks your net worth for you. Beyond net worth, you will want to examine your saving and spending habits to see if you are happy with where you are at or if there are things you’d like to change. Jim also advocates simplifying your accounts (combining accounts you no longer use) and automating as much of your finances as possible. By putting your finances on autopilot, you won’t miss any deadlines and that will free up space to think about other financial goals. Jim’s biggest goal for 2021 is to take a big vacation. I think after the disaster that was 2020, we all deserve a big vacation in 2021.

How We Sold Our House To Zillow For A Profit

Not only is selling a house stressful, it is also expensive. Most people contact a realtor, perform some cosmetic repairs, and then have to have their house in spotless condition for numerous showings and open houses. On top of all of that work, you have to pay a percentage (typically 5-6%) of the purchase price of the home to the realtor as a commission. What if there were an easier way to sell houses? Recently, tech companies such as Redfin and Zillow are buying houses directly from homeowners. In these direct sales, the home can be sold much more rapidly and without some of the risk that comes with listing your home on the market.

In the Spring of 2019, we sold our Phoenix, AZ home to Zillow for a profit after owning it for two years. I’ll run through the steps of our transaction and our opinion of the process. ~Beyond Pennies

In this article, Shelley from Beyond Pennies shares her story of selling her home to Zillow. Even though she had only owned the home for 2 years, she was still able to sell it to Zillow for a profit (Phoenix, Arizona). The article was very informative and walks you through the steps of selling your home to Zillow. The process starts with an automated estimate based upon the Z-estimate of your house. If you’re still interested, they send an appraiser to your house. They will then send a formal offer. The offer includes their estimate of what they believe your home is worth along with deductions for upgrades that Zillow will make along with fees. While Shelley noted that the fees seemed high, she was still able to come out ahead on her offer and believed that it was a fair offer. If you’re thinking of selling your home in the near future, it’s worth checking out the article.