20 Oct

High Value Home Improvements to Make with Your HELOC

Did you know about 50% of Home Equity Line of Credit loans, aka HELOCs, are used to make home improvements according to the US Census Bureau’s Housing Survey? It’s a common sense move since the updates you make, especially in Denver’s market, are likely to reap rewards when you decide to sell. You can even use some of the new equity in your home you’ve earned with your labor (or a contractor’s) to pay for the old equity you borrowed. Winner! Winner!

How is a HELOC different than just a loan? A home equity line of credit is more like a credit card than a loan. Once the line of credit has been approved, the homeowner decides if and when to use the money and can withdraw it from the account as needed. Payments aren’t due until there’s an outstanding balance on the line of credit.

We published a post about HELOCs and rising home prices in Denver in an April 2015 blog post and one and a half years later, the song remains the same – home prices are still HOT. The average sold home price in metro Denver was around $398,663 then and now it’s just slightly lower at $396,700.

Did you know there are also tax benefits to getting a HELOC? If you itemize your taxes, you may be able to deduct the interest paid on a home equity loan or HELOC if the loan amount is limited to $100,000. It doesn’t matter if you used the money for home improvement, or a car, or a trip of a lifetime.

If you’re ready to build equity and want to choose a midrange remodeling project that will yield the greatest return, check these recommendations. Source: Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value 2016 edition for Denver, CO.

  1. Minor Kitchen Model
  2. Front door
  3. Deck
  4. Convert attic into a bedroom
  5. Garage Door Replacement

Even if you’re not going to be selling right away, consider how your HELOC can improve your quality of life in the home you’re in now. Consider the following scenario. Your home is worth $300k with a remaining mortgage of $150k, so you have $150k of equity in the home and you decide to invest $50k in a major kitchen remodel. The average ROI on this investment is 65 percent, so the project adds $32.5k of value to the home. While you now owe $200k on the home, it is now assessed at $332.5k. The homeowner has decreased the home’s overall equity by only $17.5k, and now enjoys a brand new $50k kitchen in a home that still has plenty of equity.

Talk to one of our RMLEFCU associates today about a HELOC! Find out more about our HELOC offerings here.

05 Oct

Use these Apps to Save Money on Eating Out

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer expenditure surveys, the typical household spends $2,625 each year, or around $219 per month on food outside the home.

Do you know how much you’re spending on eating out? One way to find out is to download a month’s worth of spending into an excel format. You can sort the vendor name alphabetically and quickly add up any restaurant names.

Those in higher income groups spend more on restaurants — around $370 per month — and those in the lowest income groups spend less, at around $104 per month.

Here are a few signs that you’re spending TOO much. Also, don’t forget that all beverages consumed outside the home should also be included

  • You spend more at restaurants than you do on groceries.
  • Your restaurant tab rivals your housing costs.

We don’t want to take away all of the fun of going out to eat so we’re listing our two favorite apps to save you money at restaurants. We selected these since they have the largest amount of restaurants to choose from and for ease of use.

Restaurant.com

Their website states, “Save up to 50% at 62,000 restaurants.” so you can be assured they have plenty of matches in most cities and decent sized towns.

How it works: You purchase a $25 gift certificate for $10, but they often run promotions where you can buy the same $25 gift certificate for just $2 or $3. $25 worth of food for $2.

Ease of use: You can search by restaurant name, cuisine type, city, or zip code. Why so cheap? You are accepting their restrictions:

Each restaurant has their own set of restrictions. Some of the most common are:

  • Minimum purchase ($35 or $50)
  • Dine-in only
  • Not valid Friday or Saturday night
  • Alcohol does not count toward minimum purchase
  • Not valid toward tax or tip
  • Limit 1 per table
  • Not valid with any other offers

Based on a search of Denver, CO – there were 68 restaurants within 5 miles, and 88 within 10 miles.

We recommend asking around or looking up the restaurant on Yelp before you buy.

Groupon – Your first step is to click on Categories and select “Food and Drink”, then “Restaurants.” You can filter by category, distance, price, or click on “Map” to see what is close.

As of 10/4/16, there were 147 matches. Groupon also regularly does special “Today Only” or “3 day deals” where the discounts are even deeper. As of 10/4/16 there is a Groupon-a-thon where certain restaurants deals are even cheaper. One example of a deal is a voucher good for $20 at Jack-N-Grill that you can purchase for $13 or a $40 voucher for $25.

So, go ahead. Charge up that phone, download that app, put on a nice shirt and go out to eat. If you use these apps you may be able to eat out for less than a home cooked meal.

03 Oct

The Easy Way to Use Coupons

Admit it. Using coupons seems like a lot of work. You’re busy and question whether the effort is worth it. Should you spend your precious time chasing after deals, visiting multiple stores, and only buying things when you have a coupon for them? We get it. Buying something that you never intended to buy only because you have a coupon is counterproductive. But if you follow our guidelines, using coupons can be convenient and save you both money and time.

First, you need to gather your coupons. There are four main sources:

  • newspaper inserts – can be manufacturer or store coupons
  • store’s website – you must print
  • mobile apps
  • store coupons – emailed or snail mailed

Which ones you use depends on your comfort level with technology and whether you can remember your printed coupons.

Easy Way to Use Coupons at Grocery Stores in Colorado

King Soopers will double manufacturer coupons of $0.50 or less while those worth $0.51 – $1.00 in savings will be redeemed for $1.00, and manufacturer coupons over $1.00 will be redeemed at face value.

At Sprouts, the number of coupons per transaction is unlimited. Sprouts coupons can be combined with a manufacturer’s coupon, unless stated it cannot be used in conjunction with any other coupons or offers. When purchasing a single item, Sprouts accepts one manufacturer coupon. They do not double coupons. Bonus tip: Because their weekly prices run from Wednesday to Wednesday, you can save the most in the middle of the week when the ads overlap.

Safeway is store dependent regarding doubling of coupons, so it’s best to ask at your preferred store. “Double coupon” promotions do not apply to any internet or digital coupons except for applicable internet printed manufacturer coupons.

Trader Joe’s has great deals to begin with and does not offer an app or mobile coupons.

At Walmart, you can’t double coupons, but they will price match.

Easy Way to Use Coupons at Hardware/Home Improvement Stores in Colorado

Most Ace Hardware stores are independently owned. Many will price match but you’ll have to ask the manager. If they do, they most likely follow these guidelines:

If you find a lower price on an identical item, at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s, just bring in their current ad and Ace will match their price.

If Home Depot or Lowe’s is offering a percent off discount, Ace will match the final net price the competitor is offering.

Home Depot – If you find a current lower price on an identical, in-stock item from any retailer, they will match the price and beat it by 10%. Just bring the ad, printout or photo with you to the register.

Lowe’s – If you find a lower everyday price on an identical item at a local retail competitor, just bring in the competitor’s current ad, and they’ll beat their price by 10%. If a competitor is offering a percent off discount, they’ll match the final net price.

In future posts, we’ll discuss other types of online coupons and daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social.

Save on!