The One Audit That Homeowners May Actually Love -- and It's a Money Saver

For most Americans, the word "audit" is an unpleasant one, summoning images of a stern IRS agent who demands receipts to support every tax deduction on last year's return. Homeowners, however, may be letting that word keep them from a terrific opportunity for increased home efficiency and lower heating, cooling and electrical costs: the energy audit. Here's a quick primer on this energy- and money-saving initiative, mentioned as one of the essentials of beach home renovation in September's issue of Coastal Living: What's an energy audit? An energy audit is an assessment of a home's heating/cooling systems, lighting, and appliances to determine their efficiency. A trained specialist reviews t

Three Hidden Gems from the IKEA 2017 Catalog That Won't Bust Your Budget

IKEA fans, rejoice! The 2017 catalog has arrived, and the Internet is abuzz with praise for the latest innovations from Sweden. While the media and bloggers are going gaga (and rightfully so) for the VALLENTUNA sofa and GRÖNADAL rocking chair, avid readers of the catalog will find charming, practical, and -- most importantly for budget-conscious shoppers -- affordable new reasons to make a pilgrimage to the nearest IKEA. Here are three that are worth the trip. All photos are courtesy of IKEA. The PÅHL desk with add-on unit: catalog price, $99.99 Parents looking for a streamlined homework space with a dash of color need look no further than the PÅHL desk. This sturdy and sleek desk has three

The Five Things Your Home Needs to Make This Back-to-School Season the Best Ever

It's that time of year again: back-to-school! The lawn chairs and gas grills on display at our favorite stores have been replaced with shelves of backpacks, notebooks and pencils. Who can forget the Staples ad with the happy dad throwing school supplies into a shopping cart, while his kids trudge along behind him? "The most wonderful time of the year," indeed. While you're stocking up on the essentials for the students in your life, don't forget that your home plays a big part in their success as well. For a smooth and seamless transition to back-to-school mode, add these must-haves to your checklist! A launchpad/landing area: School days will get off to an easier start if coats, shoes, back

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