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Despite the so-called recovery, many families continue to struggle, with income and other living standards slipping below thresholds that typically represent middle-class quality of life..
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- The Economics of Ditching Your Mortgage
For a recent story I did about underwater mortgages, I spoke with a lot of people who owe more on their mortgage than their homes are worth. Inevitably, these people would acknowledge the option of just walking away..
Landscaping Basics: Beautify Your Yard and Garden Without Breaking the Bank
Sprucing up your outdoor space can add valuable curb appeal to your home, and increase your property’s capacity for entertaining and personal enjoyment. When you are hunting for bargains on soil, plants, rocks, and wood to improve your yard and garden, you will notice significant differences in prices based on regions and sources. The prices of many materials fluctuate quickly, dramatically, and seasonally. The following tips can help you keep your lawn and garden landscape project affordable and beautiful.
Home improvement warehouse stores usually have the most affordable price points for standard plants and building materials (like lumber) but they often do not have the quality and selection available at specialized sources.
Sketch your design prior to building and planting. Understanding your needs and where the elements of your yard and garden landscape are going to be positioned will prevent wasted time and money.
Although simple shapes and configurations are cheaper and easier to do, it might not be worth sticking to the bare minimum if you will not truly enjoy the space. Determine whether you are willing to shell out the extra cash for a professionally designed outdoor space.
Although the professional services of landscape architect or designer might not be necessary to plan your home landscaping project, a relatively low-priced, brief consultation might be worth more than its cost if it could save you from expensive mistakes down the road.
Don’t Spend it All in One Place
It is likely that you will not have the financial means to landscape your entire property at the same time. Divide your lawn and garden makeover into phases, and purchase elements and services as you have the money to do so. This process allows you to evaluate your landscape evolution and alter plans prior to proceeding to the next stage of the project.
Cheaper Isn’t Always Better
Home improvement warehouse stores usually have the most affordable price points for standard plants and building materials (like lumber) but they often do not have the quality and selection available at specialized sources. Local specialty stores might provide personalized service, guarantees, and expert advice, which can be helpful if you are a beginner. The price of plants might be higher at specialized nurseries, but a lot of nurseries will provide money-back guarantees for shrubs, trees, and bedding plants.
Sometimes Cheaper is Better
The quality of some materials does not vary widely, with little difference between top-notch and economy versions. In these cases, you can benefit greatly from the high-volume buying ability of large home improvement warehouses on items like perennials and annuals, pavers, mulch, and containers. You should always closely inspect plants to ensure they have been properly cared for.
Timing is Everything
The time of year you buy materials can be just as significant a factor as the place where you buy them. You can usually get lumber at a lower cost during the winter. Cut expenses on shrubs, trees, soil, perennials, and mulch by purchasing them at the end of growing season.
Use Other Resources
Catalogs and Internet sites offer a wealth of options, including specialized products and rare plans. Catalog and web prices are sometimes lower than brick and mortar stores too, but you should always figure in the cost of shipping when determining the best deal. Botanical centers and arboretums often have plant sales as well. Your friends and neighbors might have spare perennials they could share with you. Find out if your city offers free compost and mulch, and check demolition and construction sites for stones and bricks.