Four Ways to Use Technology in Order to Live a Greener Lifestyle
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There's no doubt that many people want to follow a more eco-friendly lifestyle. However, it can be difficult to know where to start, especially when you encounter so many marketing campaigns about products and services that claim to promote greener living. Still, with the help of a few eco-friendly devices, anybody anywhere can take the first steps toward assisting with a healthier planet.
Light BulbsEveryone needs light in their home, but what many people don't realize is that there are many different ways to go about it. When you are trying to find ways to go green, consider making the switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. Not only can energy-efficient light bulbs last much longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs — up to 25 times longer, in fact — but they use up to 80 percent less energy.
While the price of energy-efficient bulbs might potentially be a bit higher than traditional bulbs, they tend to last much longer, making them a better value overall. Even if you don't want to change out all your light bulbs right away, you could get a great start by changing out the bulbs in high-use areas such as the living room or the kitchen.
Smart Thermostats Reduce your carbon footprint and save energy when you switch to a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats do what their name describes, and learn the heating and air conditioning patterns in your home.
Smart Neighbor explains you should choose a smart thermostat based on what your personal preferences are. For example, smart thermostats from Nest can connect to your Google Home, Echo, or other device. The ecobee4 has Alexa built in, and Microsoft/Johnson Controls GLAS offers a translucent touchscreen, and it has Cortana voice controls.
As Quartz points out, it’s important to understand that smart home devices are not immune to hackers. In fact, just the opposite, so avoid issues like identity theft and viruses with precautionary measures, and make sure your whole family is on the same page.
Streaming DevicesGoing green is about simplifying your routine and reducing clutter as much as anything else. It is easy to fall into the trap of having various devices all over the house. However, by switching to a streaming service, you will be able to streamline your entertainment experience. Plus, you can finally recycle those old DVDs that have been sitting on a shelf for years and years.
There are many different streaming services to consider, like Netflix, Roku, and Hulu. When choosing the perfect streaming service for you, consider what type of entertainment you will use the most in your home and any upcoming shows or movies that you especially want to see. Many streaming services offer special deals for new subscribers, so you can save money while living a greener life.
Business EssentialsIf you’re dedicated to a healthier environment, taking green practices into the workplace is the natural next step. Reach out to your employer to act more conscientiously; changing to more efficient light bulbs and using less energy for heating and cooling are smart choices from a business perspective, and your employer can even boast about it on social media and in local business channels.
Maybe you’re the boss and you’re considering something on an even grander scale. Take inspiration from cities like Phoenix, Denver and Salt Lake City. These locations are known for their green practices and economic health; you might decide to transition to one of those locations for the business and ecological gains they offer, or you push similar policies in your own neighborhood. Better walkability, better bikeability and more reliance on renewable energy make sense for everyone, personally and professionally.
Every little thing that you do to help the environment might not seem like much at the time, but it all adds up. If every person takes one small planet-friendly step, such as choosing energy-efficient light bulbs or paring down the clutter with the use of a simple streaming device, everyone wins in the end. Hopefully, these tips have enabled you to have a better understanding of how technology can really enhance your green initiative.
Homeownership is good for you. It helps you put down roots in a community, provides a sense of stability, is an excellent investment, and can even help you save on your taxes. Let’s explore how owning a home can mean more cash in your pocket at tax time.
Mortgage interest payments are generally tax-deductible on home loans up to $750,000.* This applies to first mortgages, second mortgages, and home equity loans and lines of credit, as long as the funds were used to buy, build, or substantially improve your home.
The private mortgage insurance deduction was set to expire, but the IRS extended it through tax year 2020.
Mortgage discount points may be deductible under certain circumstances. A point costs 1% of your loan amount, and purchasing points at closing will lower your interest rate.
Property taxes paid to state and local government entities are deductible up to $10,000.
Capital gains taxes, where you pay tax on the amount of money you make when you sell an asset, may be waived up to $250,000 (or $500,000 if married filing jointly). For example, if you purchase your home for $300,000 and sell it for $575,000, you may only need to pay taxes on $25,000 of the profit, rather than the full $275,000.
The IRS postponed the 2020 tax filing deadline to May 17, 2021 for most states.** Keep in mind, the change only applies to federal taxes, so check with your state tax authority to confirm when those taxes are due. Learn more about the federal extension here.
A house is probably the biggest asset you’ll ever own. If you have questions about the benefits of homeownership, tapping into equity, or your options when it comes to home financing, I’m here to help.
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