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  • From 2001 to 2005, the average homeowner saw the value of his or her house jump by more than 50 percent.
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    February 26, 2015
    Getting Rid Of Debt

    I believe a main goal in everyone’s life should be to get debt free. It’s something I’m actively working on myself at the moment- I’m putting aside other luxuries this year and primarily putting all my money towards reducing my student debt to improve my credit score. According to this post at Dale Partridge, you can be debt free by age thirty if you put together the right plan:

    -Spend less than you make. Period.

    -Don’t go to college unless you need to- 44% of current college graduates have a job that does not require a degree. Degree= debt.

    -Never buy a new car

    -Save 10% of your income no matter what

    Photo Credit: Chris Potter 

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    February 24, 2015
    Turned Down For What?

    I write a lot about tips that will help you get approved for a mortgage, but what happens if you are turned down? No matter how hard you try, there are always people that will be rejected- it’s just a fact of life. However, while it may be a considerable blow to your dream of home-ownership- recognize that it is not the end of the world and that there are always second chances. If you were turned down on your mortgage application, read this article by Gina Pogol at Yahoo Homes for advice on where to go from here:

    -Don’t beat yourself up- pick yourself up and try again

    -Ask why-  common reasons include a too-low credit score, short job history, too much debt, insufficient income, derogatory credit, or income instability. Figure out what it is and try to fix it.

    -Try another lender- there are plenty of fish in the sea. Another lender may be able to approve you.

    -Get help- ask your loan professional LOTS of questions, consider credit counseling.

    -Fix credit report errors

    Photo Credit: Meg Wills 

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    February 19, 2015
    What Your Credit Card WON’T Get You

    Credit cards are both a blessing and a curse. When used sparingly and responsibly, they can help out a lot. You can buy things you wouldn’t normally be able to afford and make payments on them. You can also improve your credit by being in good standing with credit card companies. In a pinch, they can also save you if your bank account is not up for paying bills. You can pay your mortgage, you can buy a car, and you can even pay for an expensive trip with a card (again, the key word is RESPONSIBLY). However, there are some mischievous things that credit cards will not buy you. Check out this post by Janna Heron at Bankrate. Most of them are not that surprising:

    -Marijuana- even if you have a legal prescription or live in a state where recreational use has been legalized.

    -Gambling chips- better use cash only if you plan on heading to Vegas.

    -Lottery tickets or scratch cards- are considered “high risk business activities”.

    Photo Credit: Ross Elliott 

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    February 17, 2015
    Apps For Budgeting

    Budgeting can be a time-consuming process. Luckily, there is a wealth of resources available now that you will find very app-ealing. Smart phones and computers have made our lives easier, and they can also make your finances easier. There are plenty of awesome (and free) budgeting apps out there. Here are some from Joanna at Our Freaking Budget:

    Level Money

    Budget Ease 

    Well Spent 

    Photo Credit: Zoe 

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    February 16, 2015
    Happy President’s Day!

    Photo from Mittlivpalandet

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    February 12, 2015
    Selling Your Stuff To Get Extra Cash

    A quick way to make extra cash is by selling old, unwanted stuff. I usually donate clothes and toys, and I recently discovered a used book store in the next city that pays cash. Now, I probably have between 500 and 1,000 books, and it’s my dream to have a library in my home. But some of them were just not necessary anymore- I knew I was never going to be interested in reading them. So, I took about 4 cardboard boxes of books to the store, and walked out with $90. Not bad for an afternoon of work! It also helped me make room for books that I DO want in my collection. For tips on selling your used items for more money, check out this post by JL Penner at Frugal Living Mom:

    -Use a consignment shop for big ticket items (worth hundreds or thousands of dollars)

    -When selling online, provide a detailed description and good photos

    -Always be willing to negotiate.

    Photo Credit: David Goehring 

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    February 11, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Watch the World Outside

    Photo from A Quieter Storm

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    February 9, 2015
    Tax Deductions For First Time Buyers

    Tax season is here! For most people, it can be pretty annoying. Having to enter all your income data for the whole year (especially for those of us with multiple jobs) and maybe even pay off government fees can be an ordeal. However, there are plenty of tax breaks you can take advantage of that you may miss if you are unaware of. Most of us know the basic ones- paying college tuition or loans, getting married, having children, owning a small business, etc., are all deductions that many people take advantage of. But, did you know that you can can a tax deduction for being a first time home buyer? If you bought a home in the past year, check out this post by Anthony Fontana at the Quicken Loans blog:

    What can be deducted:

    -Mortgage interest

    -Mortgage points

    -Property taxes

    What can’t be deducted:

    -HOA dues

    -Closing costs

    -Cost of repairs

    Photo Credit: Chris Potter 

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    February 6, 2015
    Friday Fun Video: Save Money This V-Day With DIY Gifts

    Going the DIY route can save you hundreds of dollars, and it is more thoughtful!

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    February 5, 2015
    Saving Documents For A Mortgage

    In January, I made it one of my New Year’s resolutions to start keeping better track of my finances. I made a budget for each month, balance my checkbook by hand, and have created folder to keep all my financial documents in. Well, it’s less of a folder than it is a scrapbook paper/ photo box. I know I should get a fireproof safe or something more secure, but there’s honestly not much in there yet. Anyway, in a year or two, I’m planning on buying a house, so I figured it’s good to prepare now. So far, I keep check stubs and tax info in there, as well as copies of identification. But, what other documents do I need for a mortgage application? Lucky for me, I found this infographic at

    -Previous 2 year’s W-2s

    -Previous 2 year’s tax returns

    -Past 2 pay stubs

    -2-3 months of bank statements

    -Social security card

    -Past addresses

    Photo Credit: Adam Rifkin 

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