If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to update your Long Island home’s windows with high-performance, energy-efficient replacement windows, you may be wondering how to fund the project. While we are confident Renewal by Andersen replacement windows and patio doors will add value and comfort to your home, we understand sometimes homeowners need to prepare financially for the investment. Here are seven tips to help you “find” the money, and improve your overall financial health in the process.
Start a Replacement Window Fund
Whether you are saving for a much needed car repair, kitchen appliances or a new double hung replacement windows overlooking the garden, budget for the expected – and the unexpected – this year. You need to have access to the funds when you’re ready. With interest on savings accounts still almost zero, consider a money market account or other investment vehicle that pays a little higher rate without penalizing withdrawals.
Make it Harder to Succumb to Impulse Buying
Those little indulgences — purchases gathered while waiting in the check out line at the grocery store or convenience mart — can add up to more than you think. Avoid the urge to buy the latest gossip magazines and 2 for 1, super-sized Snickers by leaving your ATM and credit cards at home. When you only carry cash, you have to think twice before you splurge on something just because you see it. Calculate how much you’ll need for essentials like gas, lunch and parking fees each week and put it in an envelope or your wallet. If you need a snack for the drive home, make some trail mix for a fraction of the cost and stash little baggies in the glove box to nibble on when you get stuck in traffic.
Make a Budget You Can Stick to that Strengthens Your Financial Future
Take your time gathering information about your income (yes, you should include things like the $500 Christmas check from Grandma, annual bonuses from the office and cash-back rewards from credit card companies and buyers’ clubs) and current expenses. If you have no idea about how much you should be spending, saving and investing, here are a few guidelines recommended by financial experts.
There’s a bit of “wiggle room” in these standards, but if you plan to retire without having to scrimp or drastically change your lifestyle, you need to put away about 20 times your desired annual income in the future – after you stop working full time. That means you’ll need 1.5 million or so, if you need (or want) a monthly income of $6,250.
- All monthly debt payments – revolving credit, auto loans, mortgage (or rent), student loans and other long-term obligations should be less than 35% of your monthly gross income.
- Your homestead should cost more than 2.5 times your total annual household income – before taxes.
- Investing a minimum of 6% of your gross income is a good starting point if you’re under 30, you may want to put more in savings if you are closer to retirement age.
Treat ‘Bonus Money’ with the Respect It Deserves
Many people treat unexpected income (think, work bonuses, inheritance funds or unexpected overtime pay) as a gift that should be enjoyed without regret. But, if you’re trying to save funds to improve energy-efficiency or give your family a comfortable home without those cold winter drafts, use the rule of thirds many money managers recommend. Put one-third toward paying down current debt and immediately invest one-third in your future. Open a long-term CD or add it to your flexible IRA account. The remaining third can be used to install replacement windows and patio doors, invest in professional development or finally get that new entertainment center you’ve been dreaming about. This strategy will help you retire debt faster, prepare for the future and still get some of the things on your wish list.
Replace Your Costly Habits with Positive Financial Behaviors
No judgments here, but some of our daily habits are causing the bank account to hemorrhage needlessly. Smokers with a-pack-day habit fork over roughly $4,000 a year to watch it go up in smoke. That daily designer coffee from the drive-thru under the Golden Arches can set you back about $2,000 annually – more if you add something more substantial, like a breakfast sandwich. And, order-in or dining out is even harder on the budget-minded family. Consider cutting back or choose a less expensive option. Did you know you can make a delicious muffin breakfast treat in less time than it takes to warm your car up, and usually costs less than a dollar? Healthier, budget-friendly and no waiting in line.
Invest in a 1-hour Session with a Financial Planner
In the same way we recommend every customer carefully consider their home environment and personal lifestyle before they design replacement windows because we know everyone has a unique set of goals and circumstances, a professional financial advisor is the best person to help you address improving your financial health.
One thing VOX recommends is looking for overlooked saving opportunities. Sometimes getting a discount is as easy as asking for it. Many insurance companies offer discounts for safe drivers, multiple accounts, good health and other factors. Do some comparison shopping to see if you can save on internet, cell phone, home phone and cable packages. Even utility companies offer incentives based on a wide range of things such as off-peak usage and installing energy-efficient home appliances and ENERGY-STAR labeled replacement windows.
Renewal by Andersen of Long Island Helps You Get Your New Windows & Reach Your Financial Goals
Investing in your future is important. If you’re ready to update your home windows with modern, custom-built replacement windows and patio doors, we invite you to fill in the short form on this page or give us a call today at 1-877-313-9052 to schedule a free in-home consultation.