Miriam Keri | Nashua Real Estate, Hudson Real Estate, Merrimack Real Estate


That kitchen sink faucet needed replacing for a while, but between the cost of the new faucet and the cost of paying the hourly rate of the plumber and his helper, it is still the same old faucet. It works—sort-of—at least water comes out. Then, while watching one of those shows (that is either remodeling a house to live in or to flip and make some money), you see them change out the kitchen faucet, and you say to yourself, "I can do that.” 

So, the adventure begins.

On the surface, changing out a faucet does not seem like such a challenging project. However, if you are not doing plumbing on a regular basis, it can get more complicated. The first step is that you have to buy the faucet you want that will look good. That seems simple enough, but there are holes already drilled in the sink or the countertop, so you must get a faucet that will fit those. There are two ways to size the holes: either remove the old fixture or get under the sink to measure the distance between the holes. (This is particularly important if this is an older home.) 

Now to do the work.

Removing the faucet requires crawling under the sink. 

  • First, remove all of that stuff stored under there.
  • Turn off the hot and cold water. If there are no valves under the sink, you need to find the master valve for the house. (If this is the situation, you might decide to install valves while you’re at it, but remember, you are not a plumber, so that might be biting off more than you can chew.)
  • Now you find that the drain pipes are in your way of trying to get under the sink to reach the backside. So, you decide to remove them to get around under there. Seems logical right? Unfortunately, you find that someone else that is not a plumber replaced those drain lines and did not put them back correctly so now you are going to have to replace those.
  • Back to the faucet you finally get the water lines removed and the nuts holding the faucet to the sink. (They're corroded—apparently, there had been a leak at some point). 

Following the instructions that came with the faucet, you get it attached to the sink, and it looks GREAT! Unfortunately, you go to connect the waterlines, and the ends do not match the faucet. So, you remove the waterlines from the inlet valve and head to the DIY store to find new lines that will fit. You also remember to take all of that drain pipe with you because you are going to need to replace it and make it fit correctly.

Wrap it up!

Now you have the new parts you can get the water attached and the drain pipes reconnected. The drain pipes look a lot different, but they work, and they do not leak. Congratulations to you! 

You have finally replaced that old faucet. It looks good, but bummer it took you all Saturday morning and then some. Maybe you should have paid that plumber for an hour. You could have done something more fun. Plumbing is one of those DIY things that when you do not do it all of the time, you NEVER have the correct pieces and you end up making several trips to the store. You are not alone.

The choice is yours: spend money or spend time. DIY can be satisfying or frustrating, so remember to start a project with your eyes open to what could be involved. Good luck! 

For a referral to a qualified plumber, check with your real estate professional.


Whether you call it a "rainy day fund" or a "financial cushion", having some money set aside for emergencies or unexpected expenses can help keep life on an even keel.

Although health insurance and a homeowners' policy can provide a measure of protection, insurance deductibles can take a large bite out of your bank account.

In addition to all the predictable expenses that accompany home ownership, mechanical systems like furnaces, hot water heaters, and air conditioning units have a way of breaking down at the most inopportune times. Another crisis that many people aren't prepared for is the potential loss of a job. When families don't have money set aside to weather the storm of an unplanned income loss, then there's no "safety net" to cushion the fall.

Strategies For Saving Money

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to build up financial reserves, but it often requires self discipline, a new set of habits, and the intention to make it happen. One of the first steps to putting some money aside for a rainy day is to open up a separate bank account. If you put extra money in your regular account -- or (even worse) keep it around the house -- chances are it will get spent pretty quickly. However, if it's deposited into a separate account that's designated for emergencies, unexpected household expenses, or even a college fund, then it'll stand a greater chance of being left alone until it's needed. Putting money aside does take some doing, but it can contribute to your family's financial security and ability to do things that are important to you.

If you have a tight budget, you're probably wondering where this extra money is going to come from! Sometimes, the very act of developing a written budget can provide you with clues and ideas for reducing your expenses. You'd also be amazed at how much the savings can add up when you comparison shop, buy in bulk, use coupons, negotiate lower interest charges on your credit cards, quit smoking, car pool to work, cut back on restaurant food, and make up your mind to live just a little more frugally.

Depending on how committed you are to creating a financial cushion, you could also make the fund grow faster by depositing a percentage of Christmas bonuses, tax refunds, manufacturer rebates, salary increases (raises), and other sources of extra income. Additional ways to beef up your financial safety net could include getting a part-time job, doing freelance work, holding a garage sale, or selling unwanted items through ads or flyers. When you pay off credit cards, car loans, or other debts, you could also redirect some or all of those monthly payments into your "future needs fund."

Whatever you decide to call it, it's nice to know that there's some extra money on hand for unexpected expenses, emergencies, potential job losses, college tuition, weddings, family vacations, home renovations, nursing home costs, or even retirement.



Going to college can be a very expensive endeavor as a result of the financial requirements and obligations.  It requires a lot of financing from textbooks, to housing accommodations, transportation and other miscellaneous expenses.  This does not even include the cost of tuition. There are several ways of handling these costs effectively without going broke. Here are a few suggestions to assist in your financial planning. 529 College Plans This is a form of investment that allows parents to set aside some money towards their kid’s education, allowing it to appreciate in value tax free.  This implies that when you withdraw from your savings, as long as the funds are used for the purpose of your child’s education, you will not be taxed. Irrespective of your income, and other family members can contribute to a 529 account. Coverdell Education Saving Accounts (ESA) This account functions like an IRA. But in this case, it is for education and not retirement. With this form of savings, you can make contributions up to $2000 with post tax dollars and allow the money to grow tax free. When you withdraw, you are not taxed on the money or interest as long as it is used for the purpose of education. IRA and Roth IRA Accounts Basically, these accounts are investment accounts used to save money for college or retirement with no significant taxes. They come as deductible and non deductible accounts. In order to qualify for this type of accounts, your income as well as an existing retirement plan is taken into consideration. With a deductible IRA, tax is deducted from your annual contributions. When you make withdrawals, you will be taxed based on your contributions and earnings. Roth IRA, contributions are not tax deductible and your earnings are also tax free if your withdraws after a five year period are used for an appropriate expenses like college tuition.

Imagine if you could make your student loan disappear. According to American Student Assistance, a non-profit that aims to educate young people about money say it is possible. Both the federal and state government, as well as some non-profit organizations offer loan "forgiveness" programs. Do the right paperwork and you could be loan free. While there is no single comprehensive listing of loan forgiveness programs, there are programs for some specific professions. Here are a few of those: Law school graduates who become a district attorney or a public defender are eligible to apply for the John R. Justice student loan repayment program. This program pays up to $4,000 a year towards an eligible applicant's debt up to the maximum of $60,000 per graduate. The National Health Service Corps offers an even more generous program for health professionals. This program repays up to $60,000 in debt in just two years for students working in medicine, dentistry or mental health in underserved communities. Graduates who are willing to work part-time on medical research could eliminate up to $35,000 in debt per year with a program funded by The National Institutes of Health. If you are willing to trade a few years of service for loan forgiveness you are in luck. There are various federally funded loan repayment programs for fire fighters, teachers, nurses, librarians, speech pathologists and employees of non-profits.  The programs don't typically ask graduates to work for free but they might receive less pay in order to repay the loan. The value of the loan repayment is likely to more than compensate for the lost wages. Because there is no comprehensive list of forgiveness programs it pays to do your research. There are many organization's websites that can help students find the right fit.

Who doesn't love a bargain? You can negotiate a deal for just about anything. Here is how to try your hand at bargain hunting at flea markets, yard sales, junk stores, antique malls, and thrift stores. Some helpful tips on how to haggle: Dress the part. If you are looking for a deal don't flaunt your designer handbag and shoes. You want the seller to believe you when you say you’re only willing or able to pay less. Be friendly. A smile and kind hello can go a long way when asking for a discount. Ask for the discount. You can't get what you don't ask for. Make a fair offer. If you offer too little you can insult the seller and they will be less willing to offer you a deal. Start your offer at a little more than half the asking price and expect to meet somewhere in the middle. Inspect the merchandise. If the item has a flaw nicely point it out to the seller. Make a group offer. Gather a group of items and offer one price for all of them together. This benefits the seller and they are typically more willing to make a deal. Pay in cash. Always buy in cash, sellers love cash (who doesn't). You may even want to take the money out of your wallet to show the seller you are serious.  



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