| Real Life Strategies for Building Wealth


This is picture of our house. Probably better say it’s a picture of the building site we lived in for about a month.

Ask anyone who has done any serious maintenance (repairs) on their house and they’ll tell you that it is very disruptive. I’ll put as top disruption doing up your kitchen; changing your bathroom(s) come next.

Doing your roof is not like that; you can still cook and take a shower. But John, who is working from home, spent most of his time project managing operation ‘roof’ and making numerous cups of coffee. After all happy builders make for a good job.

Yes, we did spend quite a lot of time over the summer talking to builders. It is all done now: we are finally going green. No, not green with envy but green as in ‘doing stuff for the planet’.

We have a new roof and solar panels. Changing the roof and using new methods and materials – by ‘new’ I mean ones that are different from the used a century ago when the original roof was done – has made a very clear difference. Putting a membrane under the roof tiles and more insulation means that the house is much warmer.

Having solar panels installed is not having an immediate effect though we have been generating a bit; after all, we do live in Manchester, it is winter and we have a very tall tree in the garden which shades the roof. Next week, a tree surgeon will be coming to trim the tree.

Now, how did the bills stack up?

When we first started collecting quotes (remember, you need at least three quotes to be able to choose) we got some ‘real mad crazy’ numbers. We were quoted £22,000 ($34,000) and £19,000 ($29,000) only for the roof.

By ‘shopping’ around, negotiating and ordering some of the materials ourselves the final bills are:

Roof (material and labour)                                    £10,644 ($17,217)

Solar panels                                                              £6,422  ($10,388)

Total                                                                           £17,066 ($27,605)


Not bad! Altogether we paid less that the lower initial quote and the work is done to a very high standard, with high quality materials.

Main thing: no leaks in the house and potentially some financial gains as well. Where does this come from?

I have been doing some research and talking to our estate agent (realtor) and it turns out that putting a new roof on your house increases its value. It is never certain by exactly how much but our estate agent reckons that we could get about £50,000 more for our house when we sell it because of changing the roof.

Solar panels add a bit of value to the house as well – mainly because of expectations for energy lower bills and independence from the grid (at least partial). More importantly for us, the expected ROI on the solar panels is about 15% and the annual income from generation is expected to be over £800.

Living in a building site was after all worth it; we not only feel good about making a step towards being ‘green’ but it also makes good financial sense.

And we paid for all this cash! Not having debt and building liquid wealth is such a wonderful place to be.

Now, let me tell you about the articles in the blogosphere that got my attention.

Whenever I have found myself in money trouble my first thought has always been ‘how can I earn more?’. As I say, I am an ‘increase your clothe’ person. This is why any post about increasing income and/or starting a side hustle will catch my attention. Last week, my friend Paul from The Frugal Toad published an article about the ways to turn your skills into income. Sound piece; even better it made me think about more efficient ways to do this. Watch this space!

Halloween is behind the corner and I am surrounded again; go to any shop and it only that all stuff for Christmas is on the shelves – yep, I do remember time when Christmas didn’t begin in July – but there is also loads of naff Halloween merchandise. The other day, I saw a banner saying ‘Happy Halloween’. Goodness; and there is me thinking that Halloween is about remembering the dead. It is also terrifying; just read Len Penzo’s post of 18 frightening financial facts about Halloween.

You see, I visit the Money Crashers regularly and most of the time my visit will be classed as a bounce: I see several articles about how to buy cheaper make-up or get a pop-up telling me that I really would love to win another iPad and I lose interest. Please listen to me and go to the site now! There is an article by Michael Lewis about the growing income inequality, its reasons and consequences. Worth ignoring the pop-up!

Don’t know about you but I really hate living with regret: it is such a wasteful and useless emotion. And here is a timely reminder by Lifehack that people mostly regret the chances they didn’t take. May be it is not such a bad idea to become a ‘hell, yeah’ person; it is a matter of habit you know.

Now, the best for last. Have a mentioned that I’ve developed a blog crash on James Altucher? Yes, I have. I visit his blog obsessively; I have managed to read most of what is on it and on the days he doesn’t publish I stare wistfully at the computer screen. I suppose this is the equivalent of checking on your phone every three seconds when expecting a message from your new date. Last week he published an article on re-inventing oneself. Go and read it now! It is so good, so ‘spot on’ that I really wish I wrote this one.

Let’s see now how The Money Principle has been doing around the internet. In the last three weeks we’ve been in the following carnivals:

Carn of MoneyPros at Hurricanes, Panties
Yakezie Carnival at The Happy Homeowner
Carn Financial Independence at Stacking Benjamins
Fin. Carn. for Young Adults at 2 Copper Coins
Carn. of Fin. Camaraderie at Save and Conquer
Lifestyle Carnival at PF Carny
Carn. of Tortoise Banker at Carnival of Tortoise Banker
Aspiring Blogger Fin. Carnival at Aspiring Blogger

Carn Financial Independence at Carnival of Financial Independence
Lifestyle Carnival at Making Sense of Cents
Carn. of Financial Planning at This That and the MBA
Carnival of Retirement at The Frugal Toad
Fin. Carn. for Young Adults at Mom and Dad Money
Carn of MoneyPros at Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses
Carn. of Fin. Camaraderie at Faithful With a Few

Lifestyle Carnival at Master the Art of Saving
Yakezie Carnival at Figuring Money Out
Carnival of Retirement at Mom and Dad Money

Wow! Thanks, guys; this is quite a list.

I am also very touched that Derek from LifeAndMyFinances included Alex’s article on the exploitative employment practices in the UK (in the 21st century).

This is all for today, my friends. Speak soon.