Budget Cuts that Aren’t Worth It

As a home owner and parent, I understand all to well the value of maintaining a budget. Over the last few years I have learned the hard way that not all areas can be trimmed. Sometimes you just get what you pay for!

Repairs, Remodels, Construction

When a mortgaged home is in need of repair, most owners shop around for the most competitive contractor. After getting some shoddy work completed on my water softener installation, I learned that the cheapest contractors may not necessarily be the best contractors. It is important to find a reasonably priced laborer to complete the job, but if one or two bidders provide a price that is drastically lower than most others, stop and ask why. Are they employing people with significantly less experience? Are they providing the same amount of services, options, and quality parts? Try to go through each bid carefully, and ask a lot of questions. In the long run, a more expensive contractor might save you a lot of headaches in the future.

Child Care and Education

The bottom line is that child care is expensive. However, going cheap isn’t always the best option. As a parent I have visited countless day cares in search of a quality provider. Most of the time I have found that the providers who offer the lowest rates also have the most kids under their care. What does that mean for your family? Well, if a provider is maxed out, they are less likely to provide more personal care for your children. They will also be less likely to have time to complete routine cleaning and maintenance, especially if they are 24 hour providers. A majority of day cares are small businesses that are run out of a provider’s home. That means they are not likely to have official staff that went through rigorous training and licensing. More often, they enlist other family members to help out as needed. A daycare center might be more expensive, but they are closely regulated by the local jurisdiction, and provide professional staffing and board approved curriculum for children. Since most children under two cannot attend a public center based provider, choose an in home provider that not only has a reasonable amount of children, but are within your child’s age group – and don’t feel rude to ask to look under their sinks and in their bathroom for safety hazards!

Electronics

As soon as the Christmas and Superbowl sales hit our door step we are on it! What cheap electronics item should we purchase this season? My brother is a repair mechanic for a large corporation. He fills me in on little known information that most people don’t consider when purchasing electronics. When a manufacturer provides details and specifications on their models, they only provide cursory information. When comparing two electronic gadgets side by side they may seem equal in terms of available options and features. However, they are not created equal. At all. The less expensive models are more likely to break down, even if they are from a reputable company. This is because they use raw materials that are less expensive in order to provide a less expensive model with the same options as high end gadgets. this helps them reach a larger target audience. That means, that you, the unwitting consumer, will end up with a model that is more likely to break down in the near future.