The Frugal Librarian #2: Mortgage refinancing

frugallibrarianIf I could time the market, I’d probably be a millionaire and not working here. Or, living out of a cardboard box because I got cocky. Depends on how you look at it.

But this much I’ve read is certain…refinancing your mortgage can save you a whole bunch of money. The adage is that if a mortgage rate is 1% lower than your current rate, it is advantageous to pay the closing costs (around $1500) to have them rework your loan with the new rate.

With the economy, mortgages are at 37-year-lows. You are going to be hard-pressed to find a more competitive rate at another time. Plus, since the fed cut the short term lending rate yet again, this should move over into the mortgage market in the coming weeks, making things even more interesting.

Only a fool would feel pressured to make such a snap decision, but in the coming weeks this could be a bird in hand for your wallet. It only takes a minute to compute your scenario online. You may very well find that a cut from 6.375% to 4.5% is like someone handing you a couple hundred bucks each month. Yes please.

Here are the rates from some local lenders:

Ascentra Credit Union
IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union
Wells Fargo Bank

The Frugal Librarian #1: Energy Audit

Welcome to our first installment of the Frugal Librarian. It is an empirically proven fact that denizens of this profession possess an uncanny sense of value. In turn, they pass that savings on to you, the consumer.

However, while some folks pinch pennies, this guy has actually been known to cut off the circulation to their extremities. This is his story.

frugallibrarianSomeone was saying something the other day about reducing one’s carbon footprint. I went to my happy place spiritually where I pretend I’m paying attention. When I came out of this trance, they were gone, as was their message about conservation. Shame.

While I am a responsible consumer, I am even more motivated by the massive amount of financial green (huh, see witty the play on words??) I can save with the MidAmerican Energy Audit. Here’s what happened. I called MidAmerican and they made an appointment to dispatch a representative to my house. At no cost, this man went from room to room taking measurements. Next words out of his mouth were, “Want some light bulbs?” “Yes sir. Yes sir, I do.” “How about a new shower head?” “Sounds nifty to me.” Make all the jokes you want about how thick one has to be to not be able to screw in a light bulb. Sometimes they don’t UN-screw safely. Does that punitively affect one’s cognitive credit score?

He also calculated that if I spend roughly another 900 dollars to put more blow-in insulation in my attic, MidAmerican will cut me a check for $600. The savings on the heat bill would pay for my portion of that within one year, he calculated, citing that 85% of a building’s heat loss comes from the top.

In under 40 minutes, with a twitch of his nose, off this jolly magic man went into the chill night. “On reasonably-priced economy sedan!” he bellowed. “Merry savings to all, and to all a warm night!”