Lifestyle, Money Saving Tips, Simple Life Tips

Six Easy Steps to Keep More Money in Your Wallet

You’ve heard it before….. Avoid high-dollar coffee shops and make your own lattes.  Pack your own lunches.  Clip coupons.  Try store brand products to see how they compare to national brands.  We all need fresh ideas on how to get the most bang for our buck these days.  At times, we all need a new way of doing life and re-thinking our habits towards financial freedom.
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  1. A well stock pantry- What does this mean?  It means that you have always have ingredients on hand to make your seasonings such as taco and chili as well as mix your own cleaning products (more environmentally safe, too!) for pennies on the dollars.  The best part is it only take minutes to make.  Google some recipes that will help you save even more at the register.
  2. Secondhand shop- Whether you are shopping for kids’ clothes or a kitchen table, there are plenty of options to find gently used items without the hefty new price tag.  Think eBay, consignment stores, and even the Goodwill.  Local community “buy and sell” sites and garage sales are great forums to find exactly what you are looking for and always a resourceful way to make money for things you no longer need.
  3. Become a good neighbor- Back in the day, people didn’t hesitate to call up a neighbor to ask for a cup of sugar or maybe two eggs if they were shorthanded.  By no means, make this a habit but if you are looking for something that you will only need to temporarily use (such as a ladder or a Halloween costume), reach out to neighbors to see if they have one on hand available for borrowing and gladly return the favor if they ever need anything.  It prevents you from purchasing something you will only use once and creating unnecessary clutter in your closets.
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  4. Consolidate trips and carpool- We live in an age where are always on the go and have a laundry list of to-dos.  However, lessen your trips to the pumps by picking one or two days out of the week to run errands opposed to jumping in your car everyday.  Make a carpool buddy that will help get the kids to and from school and soccer practices.  Best of all, it saves you time and is environmentally friendly, too!
  5. Negotiate rates with your credit card company or complete a balance transfer-  If you’re paying more on credit card interest than you would like, it’s vital to know that you do have some power as long as you’ve been making monthly payments on time. Call your credit card issuer to negotiate your current interest rate and explain your request.  Research transferring your balance to a low to no interest rate and stop using your credit card.  Create a manageable payment plan and stick to it!
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  6. Develop a plan- If you are ready to make a dive into saving money, become serious about creating a plan for  “One Month of No Spending”.  Ruth Soukup discusses this plan in her book, “31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero”.  Her family saved over $1,000 a month using this approach!  Cheers to saving!
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Buying a Home, Real Estate, Selling Your Home, Valley of the Sun Communities

The Great Housing Dilemma: Practical steps to selling your old home and buying a new one.

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The steps to “moving up” or “sizing down” can be a daunting and confusing one.  Do you sell first?  Buy first?  When is a good time to talk to a financial institution about your plans?  When does a real estate agent come into the picture?  You may not know where to start.  However, I want to reassure you that a good plan can be your best asset.

Oh, the Great Housing Dilemma.  The thought of it can brings so much anxiety.  Remember that the overall goal is to maximize the selling price of your home and find a new one for a reasonable price.  However, If you sell your current home first, where will you live until you find a new one?  If you buy first, you are stuck with paying two mortgages– that is, if a lender has the ability to offer you a second mortgage.

Options during this transition may involve:

Borrow down payment money for the second house from family or friends. Point out that you need help for only a short period, and offer a competitive interest rate. Give the person making the loan a promissory note, secured by a second mortgage (deed of trust) on your new house. Try to arrange it so that no monthly payments are due until your first house sells. Be warned, however, that depending on your financial situation, institutional mortgage lenders may refuse to approve a loan where the down payment doesn’t come from your own resources.

Get a bridge loan from a financial institution. If you have no other choice, it may be possible to borrow money from a bank or other lender to bridge the period between when you close on your new house and when you get your money from the sale of your old one. This idea is that you take out a short-term loan on your existing house, using it toward the down payment and closing costs on your new house, and repaying it when your first house sells.

Bridge loans can, however, be far more expensive than regular mortgage or home equity loans (higher upfront payments as well as interest rates), and they’re not easy to qualify for — you have to have plenty of equity in your current home and enough income to pay both mortgage payments indefinitely. The requirements all but negate the benefits of the loan!

First things first, evaluate the housing market with a trusted licensed real estate agent like myself.  I can give you current market value for your home to sell as well as advise on what is on the market for your next home.  With the marketing that I can do early on, I may be able to secure a buyer while you are preparing your home for sale.  I currently have an active listing that I “pre-marketed” for 3 months and accumulated interested buyers.  Now the home is actively for sale, we have multiple offers!  Multiple potential buyers who are interested in the listing will sell the home very quickly.

I am happy to do “Seller Net Sheets” that allow you to see estimated values of what you will net.  Talking to a lender will also determine what the lender feels your budget should be.  This allows you to know what is a reasonable next purchase should you need or desire to finance that purchase.  My goal is to get all of the information and planning done upfront so the transaction is seamless when we decide to proceed.

If you still have questions, I’m here to help!  Call me at 480-466-8193.  Erin Newman