Posted by Marie Presti on 11/25/2012

Choosing between satelllite television or a local provider in today's world is a lot more complicated than it was a decade ago. Cable TV has made a concentrated effort in the last decade to offer the channel variety of a satellite television service, while satellite television has tried to offer the same kind of bundle deals to their customers that make cable subscriptions so appealing to people who like the idea of an all-inclusive bill for their at-home entertainment. While both services can be very rewarding in terms of quality of service and variety, your family's entertainment needs will have to be ultimately considered if you want to make the best decision possible. In this guide, I will attempt to highlight the best features of each service, how they stack up to each other in terms of quality, and illuminate the potential drawbacks for each. Cable TV Cable television offers you an easy opportunity to condense all of your digital services into one package (Phone, tv, and internet.) While some satellite television companies offer similar packages, they usually have to hire a third-party company in order to be able to do so. And with cable television moving into the digital realm a little more every year, they are now finally providing picture quality that you could only previously get with satellite television. Additionally, you never have to worry about bad weather affecting your reception like you would if you were to chose a dish network. Also, many cable companies now offer DVR as part of their digital packages, which allows you to pause, record, and rewind any program you'd like, a service only previously available to satellite customers. If your family's home entertainment needs center around fast, high-quality internet service, and your television requirements can be satisfied without needing hundreds of channels, a cable television package will definitely suit your needs. Satellite TV While it may sound like Cable TV is the more appealing option at this point, you must consider a few things; namely, Satellite TV absolutely trumps cable in terms of the sheer variety of programs and content. Dish TV boasts a roster of 250+ channels, and the number is always growing. That includes over 80 PPV channels, whereas cable can only manage about 40. In addition, satellite television offers you a slew of international programming that a cable service simply cannot compete with. Dish TV also consistently outperforms Cable in terms of customer service ratings. But while Dish TV currently has the edge in terms of variety, your access to local programming is pretty limited. And, as mentioned previously, reception can be an issue during inclement weather. Your property will also need to have an unobstructed view of the sky in order to receive optimal reception, which can be a problem for some homeowners. As far as pricing is concerned, your television needs may be the determining factor. If having television in every room is a must for you, then opting for a cable package may suit your needs better. Satellite companies tend to offer per room fees, which can be expensive in the event that you would like the service to extend beyond one or two televisions. There is also the equipment cost to consider. While opting for a satellite package may cost you more money up front, your monthy bill will more often than not be lower than a cable package, as maintainance costs tend to be lower. For additional information on cable television, please visit www.comcast.com or www.verizon.com/fios For additional information on satellite television, please visit www.directstartv.com or www.dish.com    





Posted by Marie Presti on 9/30/2012

Are you considering a large-scale home remodel?  Whether you are looking for a project intended to increase your home's value, or you're splurging on a pleasure project for your family, many of you will be turning to contractors to carry out the work that needs to be done.  However, not all contractors are equal.  It is important for you to outline your priorities for the project.  You'll want a reliable contractor that can perform satisfactory work for a reasonable price.  Here's a few tips to help get you started. 1. - Find yourself an insured and licensed contractor.  Don't just pull a number from the classifieds and run with it without doing some proper homework.  Licensing ensures that the contractor in question is qualified to do the work being discussed.  To find out if your prospective contractor is licensed, contact your state license board and check up on them. Insurance is another matter.  Insurance protects the workers the contractor will be employing, and your home from accidents resulting in damages.  Ask your contractor to provide you with proof of insurance.  If they can't provide this, then move on to a new contractor. 2. - Referrals and reviews - Before you strike out on your own, ask your friends and family if they have anyone that they'd recommend.  Many times, the best contractors are found word-of-mouth.  Every contractor on the planet wants his clients to think that he's the best for the job, but results speak for themselves.  Again, make sure any referrals are licensed and insured.  You don't want to take the chance of incurring additional damages to your property due to negligence and accidents.  If no referrals can be found, then check online for reviews of local contractors.  Most reputable contractors will have solid online reviews that are easily accessible.  Contractors that operate their own websites are a plus. 3. - There's no such thing as a stupid question.  If your contractor acts annoyed with you for asking too many questions, then you should probably consider someone else for the job.  Questions to consider asking are - How long have you been in business? - How much will this project cost in total? - Have you performed this type of work before? - What is the protocol if the project goes over-budget? If you don't like the answers given, then continue looking for a contractor you feel comfortable with. 4. - Don't pay too much up front.  Paying up to a third of the total estimate up front isn't unheard of.  This initial payment will more than likely be used to hire employees and buy supplies.  However, be wary of giving the contractor any more money until after your project is finished.  Also, don't be afraid to get a rundown of how that initial payment will be spent.  Be thorough if you want to be.  The contractor should be able to give you a pretty good picture of the project in terms of cost and time. 5. - Get a contract - No matter the size of the project being undertaken, a contract should always be written up.  This will ensure a legally-binding agreement between you and the contractor exists in the event of the unforeseen.  Without a contract, there is no way to hold the contractor accountable in the event he performs an unsatisfactory job.  And trust me...Any hassles you may incur in securing a contract is nothing compared to going to court without one in the event something goes awry.  A proper contract should include the following information.

  • When the project will start and end
  • How and when you or the contractor is in default of the contract
  • How any disputes will be rectified
  • What happens if there is a delay due to weather, available materials, and so on.




Categories: Money Saving Tips  


Posted by Marie Presti on 9/23/2012

When times are tough you look to cut back anywhere you can. The price at the pump can be a real budget buster. There are ways to save on gas and get better mileage from your dollar. Slow down Speed is the biggest factor on fuel economy. Driving at 55 mph instead of 65 or 75 will save on gas. Tests have shown increasing speed from 55 mph to just 65 mph dropped fuel economy from 40 mpg to 35. While driving at 75 mph can cost the car another 5 mpg. Go smooth Keep a steady pace; avoid hard acceleration and braking if possible. Frequent acceleration and braking can reduce mileage by 2 to 3 mpg. Driving with smooth acceleration, cornering, and braking will also extend the life of the automobile. Don't be a drag When driving on the highway, more than 50 percent of engine power goes to overcoming aerodynamic drag. Carrying large items such as luggage racks and top-carriers reduce fuel economy. Warm Up Take the time to warm up the engine before taking off. Cars run most efficiently when they're warm. Stopping and starting the car several times is a big factor, try to combine several short trips into one so that the engine stays warm. Pump up Check your tires. Underinflated tires compromise handling and braking which in turn can reduce fuel economy. Check the pressure of your vehicle's tires to make sure they are correct. Keep moving Idling is one of the worst things your car can do, when idling your car is getting zero miles per gallon. Turn off your engine if you expect to sit for more than about 30 seconds. Practicing these simple tips should have you putting less money in your gas tank in more in your wallet in no time.




Tags: Save Money   money   gas  
Categories: Money Saving Tips  


Posted by Marie Presti on 9/16/2012

What will boost your home's value? You want to add a sunroom but will that bring in the biggest bang for your buck? How about a new bathroom? It's a common question that many homeowners ask. What will we get back when we sell? This can be a hard question to answer but luckily Bankrate.com and Remodeling Magazine has come up with a list of the worst home fixes for the money. Here are the six improvements that ranked dead last nationally when it comes to getting those renovation dollars back at resale. 1. A Home Office-The standard home office renovation is this year's biggest loser in the resale value sweepstakes. Nationally, homeowners spent an average of $28,888 and can expect to recoup about 45.8 percent at resale, according to the report. If you want to enjoy a home office opt for something that is easily converted back into a bedroom or den. 2. Backup Generators-This only usually brings about negative thoughts like does this home loose power often? On average, when homeowners have a heavy-duty backup power generator installed, they spend about $14,718, according to the report. The average amount of the price recovered at resale time: 48.5 percent. 3. A Sunroom-While the thought is sitting and enjoying a sunroom may sound lovely to you but the addition of a sunroom is often more than you can recoup. The national average for a sunroom addition is $75,224, according to the report. Homeowners can expect to recoup about 48.6 percent when they sell. 4. A Master Suite-It is the price tag of this addition that can also leave sellers in the red. For a super-deluxe master suite addition -- which adds square footage and uses only top-dollar materials -- the average cost is about $232,062, according to the report. Sellers can expect to recover about 52.7 percent at resale. 5. An Extra Bathroom-Wait kitchens and bathrooms sells houses or that’s what people say. Bathroom additions are very expensive. For a moderately outfitted addition with synthetic stone or plastic laminate surfaces, plan on the cost about $21,695, according to the Remodeling report. Go upscale, with finishes like premium marble or fine tile, and you can easily spend in the neighborhood of $40,710. You can plan on a return of about 53 cents on the dollar. Look for less-expensive way to get the same results. Try reconfiguring your existing space to add a bathroom for less. 6. A Dream Garage-The price tag for a top-of-the-line detached two-car with all the trimmings is about $90,053, according to the report. This is a garage that is completely top-of-the-line. You can expect to recover about 53.6 percent of that when you sell. Instead go for function over form and stick the basic garage if you plan on a garage project.  





Posted by Marie Presti on 8/5/2012

Who doesn't like to save money? A penny saved is a penny earned and there are some quick and easy do-it-yourself tips that you can do around your home to help the savings add up. 1. Did you know a shorter dryer hose will make your dryer run more efficiently? You could save up to $25 a year by just trimming the dryer hose. Make sure to trim the hose length just long enough to pull the dryer a few feet out from the wall. 2. Keep the closet doors closed. Not only does it make your room look neater it will also keep you from heating or cooling more square footage. You could save up to $50 a year by just closing the closet doors. 3. Check the water heater and make sure it is set to 120 degrees.  You may have to wait a few minutes for the shower to heat up but you could also save up to $30 or more per year on gas, oil, electricity, or propane. 4. Replace all your light bulbs with energy-efficient halogen bulbs, rather than incandescents. Just by doing this you could save a whopping $20 per fixture on electricity over three years. 5. Chim chiminey, chim chim cher-ee! Get your chimney swept in the summer. Having your chimney done is the off-season will save you money by getting an off-season price. You could save approximately $50 per flue. Just doing these simple tips can save you hundreds of dollars a year.