RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Think 'Earth First' at Home

March 13, 2015 1:57 am

(Family Features) Living an eco-friendly lifestyle starts at home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, residential use accounts for more than one-fifth of the nation's total energy consumption. Adopt an earth-first, energy saving mindset at home so that you can feel good about your family's contributions to protect the environment – and save money.

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) recommends greening your home by improving your home's energy efficiency. Wasted energy is money lost in monthly utility bills. Numerous factors influence a home's energy efficiency. Air leaks, outdated appliances or inefficient heating and cooling systems can all negatively impact your home's energy usage.

Correcting any structural issues can also go a long way toward making your home more efficient. Give your home a thorough inspection to identify and repair leaks and cracks around windows, doors and duct work. Remember that poorly sealed attics and basements are also common culprits of energy loss.

Upgrading your appliances and temperature control systems also helps drive more efficient energy use throughout the house. Look for ENERGY STAR-certified products, which are designed to save energy without sacrificing on performance. Where possible, make purchases that will perform double duty, such as high-efficiency washing machines that can save on both energy and water usage.

Choosing the right energy source can also help lessen your impact on the environment. For example, using propane-powered appliances in your home can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to PERC, propane-powered furnaces emit 73 percent fewer greenhouse gases than electricity. Similarly, propane-powered storage water heaters emit approximately 39 percent less greenhouse gas than electric storage models.

Source: PERC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Repay Debt with a Tax Refund

March 12, 2015 1:54 am

This year, the majority of taxpayers (68 percent) would prefer to pay down their debt with a tax refund instead of growing their personal savings, according to a recent poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC).

The NFCC poll found that some taxpayers will use their refunds to pay for basic necessities (15 percent). Others indicated they’d use the funds to grow their savings (11 percent) or to have fun shopping or take a vacation (2 percent). Just four percent of respondents did not know how they would use the refund.

While there are a number of good reasons to become less dependent on tax refunds, it is wise to have a plan ready. In 2014, the average tax refund for individual taxpayers was $3,034 according to the IRS. Compare that to the average credit card debt of $5,047 for adult consumers with credit cards in the previous year, according to a report by CreditCards.com. If the average refund amount were entirely committed to the repayment of the average credit card debt, it could pay it down by more than half.
The NFCC encourages taxpayers to consider the following tips when deciding how to repay debt with their refund:
  • If the debt is costing more than what is being earned from interest on savings, debt repayment should be considered as the top priority.
  • If committing the entire tax refund to repay a debt does not completely erase the balance owed, a plan should be in place to accelerate the payoff of the remaining balance.
  • If using the refund to settle a debt for less than the balance owed, be prepared to pay income tax on the amount forgiven by the creditor.
  • To pay less interest over time, focus on eliminating the higher interest debts first.
  • Once a balance is repaid, avoid replacing it with new debt.
“The most important thing to consider is the impact that debt is having on quality of life,” says Bruce McClary, spokesperson for the NFCC. “Being in a position where savings has to be put on hold while debt takes center stage is not where consumers should be. Placing debt repayment on a faster track while reducing reliance on credit cards and loans will bring people closer to resuming progress toward reaching their personal financial goals.”

Source: NFCC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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