Money-Saving Tips for Spring Hill Homeowners Pt. 3 by Fred Moutran

This is the third part our series about saving money in Spring Hill in order to recover from holiday spending sprees. To see the first two articles check here and here. For the new content, keep reading.

9. As previously mentioned, Bing has a search rewards program. For the gamers out there, you can also use those rewards points towards XBOX or Windows Store purchases. This can be used to buy all sorts of cool games and apps. For those of you with a Kindle Fire, the Amazon Appstore has a new free app listed every day. Taking advantage of those can give you enough free games to last you a while.

10. Take advantage of alternative venues to buy stuff you want/need. Craigslist, eBay, Facebook sale groups, flea markets, etc. can all offer some great deals if you know value and can haggle when appropriate. Many of those venues are also great places to sell unwanted items to bring in a few extra bucks.

11. Speaking of making extra money, there are tons of opportunities available online to do so. Aside from regular jobs, there are plenty of short-term gigs available at various sites that you can do in your spare time for extra cash.

12. Certain things are great deals at dollar stores. I purchased a large pack of disinfectant cleaning wipes at one for a dollar and they work great. The same product with a more recognized brand in the big stores costs a couple times what this did. If you can find five or six products like that that replace ones you use a lot, you could save a ton over time.

Money-Saving Tips for Spring Hill Homeowners Pt. 2 by Fred Moutran

Here is part two of our four part series for Spring Hill residents on ways to save money in order to recover from holiday spending. For part one, check here. Many of these tips will apply to everyone, but enough of them have a local component to them to warrant the label. Either way, we hope you find something useful.

5. For food, sometimes experimenting with lesser-known brands pays off. I found an excellent brand of potato chips that tastes every bit as good as the nationally popular brands and costs about half as much. I found an major cookie knock-off that was a much better deal than the genuine article as they have nearly identical taste and the budget brand puts as much filling in their standard brand as the big name does in their even more expensive “deluxe” version. Once again, research and a willingness to test out different methods can pay off big.

6. Another great way to save money on food if you eat out a lot is to purchase one of those discount cards the schools come out with each year. I use the one Springstead High School puts out and save a ton. If you use the card at the partnered establishment, you can see the card save enough money to pay for itself several times over throughout the year.

7. Evaluate your car insurance expenditure. Many people carry more car insurance than they really need. If you are carrying too much coverage, you can save by trimming this coverage. Even if you have the optimal amount of insurance, there may be an opportunity to save with another company if you have not changed companies in a while. Car insurance rates fluctuate frequently, so keeping tabs on them from time to time can be very beneficial.

8. To save on gas, Winn-Dixie Supermarkets have the FuelPerks program available for their rewards card members. If you do your grocery shopping there, you can save five cents per gallon on gas at participating gas stations for every $50 spent on groceries. These savings can add up fairly quickly each month if you buy a lot of groceries.


Money-Saving Tips for Spring Hill Homeowners Pt. 1 by Fred Moutran

Now that the holiday season is winding down, the bills for all those gifts, feasts, and festivities start coming due. For many homeowners here in Spring Hill, that could mean some serious economic belt-tightening in the coming months. Here are a few tips to free up some extra cash to ensure that you can pay the bills on your home while covering all those holiday expenses.

1. If you have a solid Internet connection, there is really little need to pay top dollar for cable TV. Even if your Internet bill goes up because it is no longer bundled with the TV, the savings from dumping that premium cable package will still save you money in the long run.

In order to still catch all your favorite shows, services like Netflix and Hulu cover many of the titles that are popular today. For those that are not available there, or on similar services like Amazon Prime, the website for the network that airs those shows will usually let you watch the latest episodes online. If you must have that HD experience, many computers even feature HDMI outputs that can connect to your TV.

2. For phone service, landlines are becoming redundant. If you insist on having a separate line outside of your cell phone, consider VOIP services like Magic Jack. For less than what many landline customers pay for phone service per month, you can get phone service for an entire year. Just keep in mind that these too will require an Internet connection.

For cell phones, comparison shop for plans. Data rates are getting cheaper. Several companies offer unlimited talk text and web plans for around $40 per month. If money is an issue, there really is no reason to pay more than that unless you got locked into a long-term contract.

3. There are deals for many items online. Spending five minutes a day doing searches on Bing can get you enough rewards points to get gift cards for places such a Burger King and Applebee’s. Over-the-counter medication can frequently be purchased cheaper on Amazon than through a normal store. Many household items can be found cheaper at Amazon or eBay than most other places. Groupon has deals that most people can take advantage of. There are many more if you are willing to do the research.

4. If Internet bills are too high, consider WiFi hotspots at places like the Hernando County Public Library for your computing needs. Just be vigilant with your security and practice proper etiquette while there. Also, the library is a great place for media rentals, saving you from paying for services like Redbox.  You may not get the newest titles, but how many people get that even when paying top dollar for it at a rental kiosk? Those things always seem to be out of the good stuff. Save your money.


Making Your Home Appealing to Buyers

This video from Re/Max gives you several tips to update your home to make it more appealing to buyers. If you are looking to sell with us, we can help you make adapt these tips to your home to maximize it’s selling potential. To do so use the contact form on the right of the page or the phone number and/or email listed in the header above.

Happy Holidays From The Bonnie Barbieri Team

With Christmas coming this week, we would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Holiday season. Winter in Florida is truly a sight for those who have not had the opportunity to see it firsthand before. Lights on palm trees and around pools that may still even be in use are found all around.

Be sure to take some time to think of others this holiday, volunteer, give, make the world around you a better place. Even if it is a small action, they all add up. Now, for no other reason than the fact that it’s cute, here is a dog in a Santa hat.


Best Places to Get a Drink in Hernando County by Fred Moutran

Hernando County has plenty of places to take a load off and relax with your friends and some drinks. Now, what someone thinks is best in a bar can vary widely based on what they prefer in the way of atmosphere. Some people prefer a place to get rowdy while cheering for their team with fellow fans. Others want a place to relax and unwind. Others will look for a friendly atmosphere, and still others will look to meet new people. So picking just a single establishment and calling it best is really not an option with so many opposing definitions of “best.” So for the purposes of this article, much like our “Best Places to Eat in Hernando County” article, selections will be broken down by category. Of course, these are just my opinions, but they are informed opinions.

Sports Bar

Rookies has two locations in the county. In this instance, the edge has to go to the location on U.S. 19. With a large capacity, plenty of TVs, and a clean, inviting atmosphere, Rookies has a location people will want to go to right at the center of activity in Spring Hill. The food is solid and the drink selection is one of the best in town. Add to that being one of the few places in the area willing to foot the bill to show UFC events, in addition to the usual football package, and you have a solid draw for most sports fans.

Pub

A good pub is one that people can go to to forget their troubles and hang out with friends in a cozy atmosphere. The best place to just relax and hang out with friends in town would have to be Monti Magill’s Irish Pub. The place has lots of comfortable seating. It rarely gets too noisy, and it is located in a plaza with plenty of parking, so even on the busiest of nights, you and your friends can still get in there.

Nightlife

When it comes to meeting someone, dancing to the house DJ’s fresh tracks, or just shooting some pool with your buddies, the bars with the best nightlife will always draw a crowd. Now, admittedly, I have not managed to sample every contender in this category, but I do know where I felt most at home out of the places I have. That award would have to go to Aqua on Kass Circle. While a bit hidden, it is still located in a part of town that is easy for most people to get to. The staff is really friendly, the food is good, and the place is usually fairly lively. Hernando County is not typically known for it’s nightlife, but Aqua is the exception to that.

These are my picks for the best places to get a drink in Hernando County. As always, if you would like to share your own favorites, feel free to do so at our Facebook page.

Tampa, Fl. Total Home Value Rises $25.7 Billion

According to an article on AOL Real Estate, the value of all homes in Tampa, Fl. grew by $25.7 Billion. This was data presented in a larger set that looked at gains across the country. For the nation as a whole, the cumulative value of all homes grew by $1.89 Trillion. This goes a long way to show how well the housing market is bouncing back. The increase in total home values is the largest since 2005 when the total value grew by more than $3 Trillion.

This is significant because the level of increase is nearing pre-recession levels. If this trend continues, we could see the losses in home value that came with the Great Recession recuperated within the next few years, putting home values back into the territory we saw during the mid-2000s housing boom. This would be huge for both borrowers who are still underwater as well as anyone looking to sell a home.

The trend is expected by experts to continue, albeit at a slower pace. Even with a slower pace of growth than we have seen this past year, it is still feasible to see the losses from the recession eliminated by 2020. At that point, we would have values that match or exceed those of the housing boom. If you are looking to invest in real estate, now is the time to do so. Getting in now will allow you to take advantage of the continuing rise in prices.

We have posted numerous indications of this trend here on this site. You can check out those articles for more information about how the market is recovering. If you would like to get more information about selling your home while the prices are still on the rise, contact Bonnie Barbieri at: sold@bonniebarbieri.com.

Floridayards.org Review

Here is a website that any Florida homeowner could find useful. Floridayards.org has plenty of resources available to help you plan out a landscaping project. They have several sections that all have a wealth of information for those with a green thumb or even those who are getting into landscaping for the first time. The sections are listed as Landscaping 101, Interactive Yard, Plant Database, and Professional’s Corner. For this article, we will look at what each section has to offer.

Landscaping 101 offers some basics for those new to landscaping or those new to the unique flora of Florida. They have an interactive tutorial that covers some of the essential principles of designing a landscaping plan in our climate. After the tutorial, you can take a quiz to test your retention of the tutorial material. There are also downloadable guides, pictures with examples of expert landscaping, and links to experts in the field.

The Interactive Yard feature is pretty much exactly as it sounds. It allows you to plan out your landscaping project by using a digital yard as a blueprint and selecting what plants you want to plant in which spots. As you select plants for each spot, you can get more information on each type of plant. It even filters by region as you start, so you get a better idea of the native plant-life to use in your project.

The Plant Database gives you a more direct link to the information on the state’s native plants. Like the Interactive Yard feature, this section allows you to filter by region. It then takes it a step further by allowing you to filter by type of plant. Everything from palms, to grasses, to shrubs, to vines is represented here. There is another layer of filters beyond that that may get to be too much for newbies to handle. Of course, they can always use the Landscaping 101 section or the Interactive Yard section to get the information they seek.

The Professional’s Corner gives you testimonials from landscape companies, builders and the like who utilize low-impact landscaping to improve yards and the environment. They also have resources for builders and professional landscapers to learn more about low-impact landscaping.

If you are a landscaping pro, or don’t even cut your own grass, there is a great deal of resources for you to assist any landscaping project you undertake. If you want help planning your next remodel, you may want to check this site out.