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Did you know?
From 2001 to 2005, the average homeowner saw the value of his or her house jump by more than 50 percent.
It’s what sets owning apart from renting, and is why some people have to wait so long to purchase a home: the dreaded down payment. When I lived in my apartment, my sister and I were paying a total of $1,100 a MONTH for RENT. Meanwhile, one of my friends had just bought her first home, and her mortgage was around $400. I was happy for her, but it secretly angered me. Why should I have to pay more than double that for a tiny apartment that I couldn’t even own? Well, because I hadn’t saved up a few thousand for a down payment. Sick of living like I did? Ready to stop throwing money away renting? Here’s how to get money for a down payment fast from Robert Brokamp at the Get Rich Slowly blog:
-Buy a fixer upper (that doesn’t need immediate fixing)
-Sell your stuff! You could get hundreds or thousands of dollars from selling big ticket items + less things to move.
-Get help from your boss- if you’re in good standing, consider asking for a raise or an advance on your next check
-Get help from the gov.- try out an FHA loan or other federal home buying program.
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
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
-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
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”.
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:
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.
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:
What can’t be deducted:
-Cost of repairs
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