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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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    September 22, 2014
    Halloween Savings Here

    Halloween is my favorite holiday! It was when I was a child- you get to dress up, go to parties, and get free candy. It still is! I still dress up, go to parties, and now I get to decorate. The only thing I don’t love is how expensive the holiday is. Bags of candy go for around 10-$20 (and you’re usually getting more than one bag), costumes can be more than $50, and decorations can be incredibly expensive as well. However, there are plenty of tricks to saving during the holidays. I always DIY my costumes, and decorations (or I go to the dollar store). You can also use coupons for things! Read this post at Raking In The Savings for how to save on candy:

    -Take advantage of coupons and sales

    -Buy small, not full bars

    -Buy in bulk from Sam’s Club or Costco

    -Always check dollar stores

    -Buy generic, not Halloween themed candies

    -Stick to cheaper candies like lollipops and and hard candies instead of expensive chocolate.

    Photo Credit: Juushika Redgrave 


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    September 18, 2014
    In College? How To Save Money

    College nowadays is insanely expensive; with most people leaving with anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 in debt before they even have a job. That’s why, during college, it pays to be frugal. You probably have no other option- since all your money is going to tuition, books, and housing. Here are some great tips on saving during college from Katelyn Fagan at Whats Up Fagans:

    -Always buy used books, and always buy online

    -Bring your student ID EVERYWHERE and always ask for discounts! You might be surprised

    -Pack a lunch

    -Only buy school supplies on clearance

    -Use the campus gym

    -Use money saving apps

    Photo Credit: COD Newsroom 


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    September 17, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Right On The Lake

    Photo from Casa Decorada


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    September 15, 2014
    Repairing Credit Damage To Buy A Home

    The first piece of advice that is given for people looking to buy a home is to get your credit score together. Lenders simply do not want to work with people who don’t pay their bills on time, or who already have massive amounts of unpaid debt. To them, it shows that you’re untrustworthy. Now, I know that stuff happens. Bad things can sometimes happen to good people– that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to buy a house. For advice on how to fix your credit before you apply for a mortgage, read this post by Scott Sheldon at Yahoo Home Finance:

    -Fix Maxed-Out Credit Cards: Carrying credit cards with maxed-out or near maxed-out balances can be catastrophic to a credit score

    -Don’t Close Credit Cards: Don’t close credit cardseven if you are not using them.

    -Reverse Late Payments: Late payments on a mortgage are by far the worst possible derogatory credit item

    Photo Credit: Rob Sywston 


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    September 12, 2014
    Friday Fun Video: Turning Trash Into Decor
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    It’s not too early to start decorating for Halloween! Check out this video for some spooky ideas on upcycling items you already have for cheap decor.


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    September 11, 2014
    Understanding Your DTI Ratio

    One thing that lenders check when you apply for a mortgage, besides your credit score, is your DTI, or, Debt To Income ratio. It’s a number that signifies how much of your income will be spent on your mortgage. If you’re earning $2,000 a month, you simply can’t afford to have a monthly mortgage payment of $1,800. It’s helpful in determining how much house you can afford. Check out this post by JD Roth at Get Rich Slowly for some more info:

    This ratio is computed by comparing your expenses to your gross (pre-tax) income. The lower the number, the better. If you make $3,000 a month before taxes, and you pay $300 toward debt, your debt-to-income ratio is 10%.

    When a prospective borrower submits her paperwork, the computer evaluates it, applying statistical models to be sure the proposed debt load falls within accepted ranges.

    Photo Credit: Simon Cunningham 


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    September 10, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: I Have A Thing For Staircases

    Photo from Indulgy


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    September 9, 2014
    Mortgage Application Dealbreakers

    So, you think you’re ready to buy a house. You’ve determined how much of a monthly payment you can make, have held a steady job for a few years, and have saved up for a down payment. Your credit score is great, so you think there’s no way you’ll be denied. However, it always pays to play it as safe as possible. Read this article by Paul Sisolak at Go Banking Rates for blunders that will cause you major headaches, and how to avoid them:

    -Failing to get pre-approval

    -Changing your credit behavior

    -Blanking out the “blank” pages: When those empty pages of your mortgage application say “These pages left intentionally blank,” they’re blank for a reason. That doesn’t mean you can skip over them when scanning, faxing or mailing them to a lender, bank or credit union.

    -Forgetting to read the fine print

    -Lying- Don’t put yourself at risk of committing mortgage fraud. 

    Photo Credit: Michael 


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    September 8, 2014
    “Fall” Into More Cash

    Summer has plenty of great opportunities to make extra money: lawn care businesses, selling old items at garage sales, in home child care….the list goes on and on. If you work at home, or have lots of free time, it pays to be creative with ways to bring in more income. But, it’s September now! Lawns don’t need mowing as often, it’s getting too chilly for yard sales, and kids are back in school. So, what can you do to make some extra cash now? Read this post by Carrie Smith at Go Girl Finance for some fun ideas:

    -Sell crafts on Etsy

    -Flip yard sale finds, sell on Ebay or Craigslist

    -Set up an after school programs for kids.

    -Start a virtual part time business

    Photo Credit: Micky** 


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    September 4, 2014
    Budgeting With Inconsistent Paychecks

    Throughout highs school and most of college, I had part time jobs. I would get anywhere from ten to thirty hours week-it completely depended on how busy we were going to be. I would try to budget, but it was almost impossible. I couldn’t always afford to save a percentage: sometimes, my entire paycheck would just go to buying gas and food. If you have a part time job with random hours, or if you work in a creative field with inconsistent paychecks, budgeting and saving for the future can be a problem. But, it is possible, as long as you’re strict with yourself. Read this post by Christina at First Home Life for a detailed guide on how she makes it work! I won’t post any of it here, because it’s a complicated (read: mathy) process, but it’s worth the read.

    Photo Credit: John Lambert Pearson 


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