11 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter, Conserve Energy, and Save Money

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The changing of seasons is the perfect time to check your home’s energy efficiency, especially when much of the country will be facing cold temperatures in a few months (except for those lucky few living in warmer climates).

As temperatures cool, now is the time to make some updates to your home to save energy and efficiency and avoid costly repairs.

Here are 11 ways to prepare your home for winter and conserve energy:

Clean the gutters

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Using a Roth IRA as an Emergency Fund – Pros and Cons

Roth IRAs are by far my favorite type of investment holding account available.

I love the idea of setting aside $5,000 in after-tax money in order to never pay taxes on the amount ever again.

There are other perks to using a Roth IRA besides never paying income tax on your nest egg.  One of the most prominent: you can withdraw your contributions at any time, even before retirement.  (This isn’t recommended, of course, but it is possible.)  You won’t pay any penalty or taxes for withdrawing your contributions under normal situations.  You will pay tax and penalties if you withdraw your investment earnings, so never do this.

This unique withdrawal capability has some people counting on their Roth IRAs as an emergency fund.

But is this a wise choice or a fool’s gamble?

Should I Use My Roth IRA as an Emergency Fund?

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The Many Ways the Internet Saves (and Makes) You Money

Ten years ago the Internet used to be a luxury that wealthy families could afford, but now most have it. 

According to Nielsen, of the 80% of American homes that have a computer, 92% of them have Internet access.

With this access, they also have a powerful tool to save money.

Sure, we have to pay monthly for our Internet service, but my guess is that people who use the Internet wisely save at least as much as they spend for Internet access, if not more.

Have you given thought lately to all of the ways the Internet saves you money?

Here are just a few I came up with:

Ways the Internet Saves You Money

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Money Market Account VS Savings Account – What’s the Difference?

There are many different savings vehicles to choose from, but two of the most common are money market accounts and savings accounts.

There are similarities between the two—both pay interest, have fixed balances, and are pretty easy to deposit money into or withdraw it out.  Either account type could accomplish your savings goals.

But there are significant differences between them, and those differences could help you decide when one is more appropriate as a savings vehicle than the other.

Money Market Accounts VS Savings Accounts

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ING Direct Financial Independence Days Sale – 2012

ING Financial Independence

ING DIRECT is at it again!

ING Direct Financial Independence Days SaleTo help celebrate our country’s independence, ING DIRECT is offering up some juicy deals to help you achieve financial independence.  As our country’s independence was declared in 1776, you’ll find many of the offers play of the ’76 theme.

Hurry up and check out the offers as they as are only around June 30th thru 11:59 pm ET, July 3rd.

Here are the ING DIRECT Financial Independence Days Offers:

Liberate from Checking Fees

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Use Alternative Housing Arrangements and Save on Your Next Vacation

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The family vacation is pricey.

According to Free Money Finance, in 2007, the average American spent $1,654 on their summer vacation.

If the vacation is a week long, that is approximately $236 a day, of which I am guessing accommodations are a large portion of the expense.  If you are a family of four, you may be able to stay in cheaper hotel accommodations, but if you have three or more children, hotel stays get to be tricky (and expensive) because most hotels will only sleep 4 to a room and want you to buy two rooms or a suite, both expensive options.

If you would like to minimize your expense for accommodations on your next vacation, there are several hotel alternatives.

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How to Negotiate Lower Rent in Your Current Apartment

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In this market, many new renters are freely negotiating with prospective landlords on the price of rent and having success.

However, what if you are currently locked into a lease and don’t really want to move?

If you have been in your apartment for several years, before the downturn of the housing market, you may be paying up to a couple hundred dollars more than new tenants.

Luckily, there are still ways you can negotiate a lower rent payment.

How to Negotiate Lower Rent in Your Current Apartment

Know the market.

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