Lynn D'Avolio
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | 801-597-2857 | lynn1@soldbylynn.com


Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 4/8/2014

Having a baby can be a very expensive venture. A 2012 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says raising a child from birth through age 17 will cost a typical middle-income family a whopping $235,000. That is a lot of money so it is important to plan†for your financial future, prepare for your new baby and protect your growing family. Here are some tips to get you and your family on the right track: 1. Purchase life insurance. You will need life insurance to protect your family. It is not as expensive as you think and you will get better rates when you're young. Talk to your life insurance company about what amount of insurance you will need to protect your family. 2. Start planning for college. It may seems years away but you need to start college planning right away. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2011-12 school year was $8,244 for a public college and $28,500 for a private one, 3. Update your will. If you have a will you will need to update it and appoint a guardian for your child. If you do not gave a will now is the time to get one. 4. Prepare your baby budget. Babies are expensive, from diapers to child care you will need to look at how your baby will affect everyday expenses. Go to the store and price out diapers and other baby items, consider if you will be living on one income or paying for child care, this will help you figure out if you need to cut spending to afford your new baby. 5. Use a flexible spending account. If your employer offers a flexible spending account, you may be able to use it to pay up to $5,000 in child-care expenses a year. You can also use flexible spending account for health care costs.†Money in a flexible spending account†is exempt from income taxes. While having a baby is expensive it is also exciting. It may also be a time when you are considering a housing change.





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 2/18/2014

One benefit of owning a home is that come tax time, there are a variety of things you can claim deductions for. Whether you have someone prepare your taxes for you, or do them yourself, it is good to know all the types of deductions you can take to ensure you lower your taxes as much as possible. First things first, in order to take advantage of the deductions you will likely need to itemize, which is a bit more complicated than the EZ form you previously used. Whether you file a single or joint tax form, you get an automatic deduction for yourself. But when you itemize, you often make out better with a higher overall deduction. Each year, the various deductions change, so it's always good to keep your eye open around tax time for updates for the tax year. A quick Google search can give you some places to start. Even deductions that have been around for a long time can change on the specifics, so make sure you stay informed! Here are a few deductions that are standard:

  • Mortgage interest paid in the tax year,
  • Points you paid on your mortgage,
  • Property taxes paid including any that were prepaid and listed on the settlement sheet when you closed on your home,
  • Energy efficient improvements (there are only specific items that this can be used on and can vary year to year),
  • Medical expenses more than 7.5% of the adjusted gross income (this one is scheduled to increase to around 10% in 2013, making it harder to meet)
As mentioned earlier, deductions can change each year. In past years you were able to deduct energy efficient home improvements such as adding insulation, or there were incentives for being a first time home buyer. You never know what other deductions may pop up, so it's always worth saving receipts just in case!  




Categories: Money Saving Tips  


Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 2/11/2014

Times are tough for everyone and saving everytime you go to the store can really add up. Most people don't realize the true value of a coupon, or how to use them to their full advantage. With a little bit of time, on average you could save 20-30% during each grocery shopping trip and 50-100% each time you go to the drug store. The trick with getting more bang for your buck is matching coupons with the weekly sales at the supermarkets and drug stores. For example, shampoo is on sale for buy one get one free, and you have a coupon for $1.00 off 1 item. If the shampoo retails for $5.00 you will get 2 shampoos for $3.00 (2 @ $5.00 - $2 off in coupons). That's a savings of $7.00! This applies to any item you would buy at the supermarket or drug store. And by stocking up on an item when it's sale price plus coupons make it a great deal, help you to avoid running out and having to pay full price. In addition, some stores have additional savings such as doubling the value of a coupon, or in store coupons that you can use with a manufacters coupon. For example: Walgreens has Bonus Rewards were you earn points on products you buy that add up to money off future items. CVS has Extra Bucks which are like cash off your total. Both drug stores have their own in store coupons (CVS prints theirs on the bottom the receipt or from the kiosk in stores, Walgreens has a monthly coupon book) which can be used with a manufacter's coupon. Find a good week, there is potential to use a manfacuter's coupon, an instore coupon and Extra Bucks on a sale item to get it pennies (at CVS for example)!!! There are a variety of websites that can help you get started as well as give you guidance on what coupons you may have to match with the sales. To name a few: www.couponmom.com, www.hip2save.com, and www.coupondivas.com are great places to start. The savings are endless, you just have to reach out and grab them!




Categories: Money Saving Tips  


Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 12/17/2013

Ceiling fans are an inexpensive way to help with the heating and cooling of your home. You can find many that cost under $100 and they have little ongoing cost. And for those of you who like DIY projects, this one will take you a couple of hours to upgrade an existing light fixture. While ceiling fans donít drastically lower the temperature in a room, they do help to reduce it slightly as well as produce a light breeze which makes you feel cooler. The result? Less use of the air conditioner that results in 3-8% savings on cooling costs. Remember that in the summer months, your fanís blades should be moving counter clockwise. In the winter months, ceiling fans can take on a whole new role. When you reverse the fanís blades to rotate clockwise, you cause the air to circulate without causing that chilly breeze. This allows for better circulation of the warm air that naturally rises to the ceiling. Itís often best to have the fan speed set to low in the winter to avoid too much air movement and the effects of a breeze. Lastly, and maybe the most important, is the decision on which fan to purchase. There are few things to keep in mind when you are out shopping for a ceiling fan. 1. The size of the room Ė ceiling fans come in all sizes and choosing one that is meant for your homeís room dimension is key. Itís recommended that you choose a 40-42 inch blade span for a room 70-100 sq feet and a 42-48 inch for 100-140 sq feet. A room thatís bigger may need two small fans to be effective. 2. The location of the installation Ė for rooms with lower ceilings, a flush mount ceiling fan will work best, while rooms with high ceilings will need a down rod so that the fan is in the right place. You also want to make sure for areas such as an enclosed porch, that you check out the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) rating to ensure the fan has either a damp or wet rating. 3. Finally, you want to pick a fan that fits your decor and life style. Fans come in all sorts of styles and can have features from various lighting to remote controls. Changing a current light fixture in your home to a ceiling fan can saving you hundreds over the life of the fan. Especially with Energy Star rated ceiling fans available, savings can add up quick.





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 11/19/2013

More and more homeowners are choosing to stay in their homes and remodel. Homeowners who stay in their homes will eventually sell their home so it is important to make sure to choose a remodeling project that will get a good return on investment. Homeowners will also want to make sure to choose the right project for their living situation. The following are some helpful hints and a guide to the values of home remodeling projects. First, you will want to ask yourself a few questions before you begin: What is your budget? What is the reason behind the project? Are you looking for more space? Updates? Are you trying to improve your quality of life? Is the goal to create more value in your home? If you are looking to get the most resale value from your remodeling project, Remodeling Magazine has published a survey on†how much some projects can increase the value of your home. Here are just a few popular projects and their values: Garage Addition†63.7% increase Home Office Remodel†43.6% increase Roofing Replacement†62.9% increase Window Replacement (vinyl)†71.2% increase For a full list of projects and how much you can expect to recoup you can read the Remodeling Cost Value Report by Remodeling Magazine.