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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.
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    May 25, 2015
    Happy Memorial Day

    Photo from Designs Next

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    May 21, 2015
    What Will Make Your Mortgage Approval Take Longer?

    In this seller’s market, it’s important to give yourself every advantage and be the most attractive buyer possible. The best way to do this is by getting pre-approved for your mortgage. Sellers do not want to waste their time with people who don’t have the funds. That’s why having your approval delayed can seriously hurt your chances of scoring your dream home. Check out this post by the Zillow team at Yahoo Homes for the biggest mistakes that will delay your approval:

    -Excluding details of your financial profile

    -Not providing every single piece of documentation

    -Confusing approval with pre-approval

    - Not sharing home offer details with the lender

    Photo Credit: Heiko Klingele 

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    May 20, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Small Modern Abode

    Photo from Home Adore 


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    May 18, 2015
    Is There Life After Debt?

    There are so many guides out there on how to get rid of debt. Almost everything I write on here, in fact, is about paying off your mortgage faster, getting out of student loan and credit card debt, and improving your credit score. But what happens when you have no more debt? You’ve paid off all your assets- your house, your car, your credit cards, and any other loans. So, now what? What do you do with your money now, besides enjoy it? Check out this article by Lisa Rowan at The Penny Hoarder for advice:

    -Celebrate! Throw a party for yourself, and invite your best friends. You’ve earned it.

    -Have a purpose for your money after debt. Choose a new financial goal to focus on- either on maxing out your 401k, getting into investing, or having a certain amount in your savings account. Seeing your savings grow can be more satisfying than seeing your debt shrink.

    -Make big plans- Go on a second honeymoon. Travel. Focus on your passions.

    Photo Credit: Stock Monkeys 

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    May 14, 2015
    Dining Out Less

    I hate to admit it, but I go out to eat wayyyy too much. It’s honestly my biggest expense, besides housing. I just don’t feel like I have the time to cook all my meals, and who wouldn’t rather have a real burger than some kind of hamburger helper? The problem is, eating out every day is way more expensive (and way more unhealthy) than buying your own ingredients and cooking. So, if you want to stop going out to eat, either for your bank account or for your health, check out this post by Missy Rakes at Graceful Little Honeybee for tips:

    -Create a weekly menu plan/ shopping list, and stick to it

    -Keep nutritious snacks in the car/at work to avoid impulsive drive thru decisions.

    -Do some freezer cooking. Taking a few hours a month to prepare home cooked meals for the freezer is a great way to save money and avoid eating out on busy nights

    Photo Credit: ebruli 

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    May 13, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Open Basement Plan

    Photo from South Shore Decorating Blog

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    May 11, 2015
    How Much Does A Late Mortgage Payment Lower Your Credit Score?

    Everyone knows that not paying your bills on time will negatively affect your credit score. But did you know that some bills are more heavily weighted than others? It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but paying a $60 water bill late is going to affect your score much differently than paying a $1,000 mortgage payment late. Check out this article by Vanessa Midun at Adweek for more info:

    The damage caused by being 30 days late on a mortgage payment was pretty severe, especially for the individual with the highest credit score. From 780, the score dropped to a possible 670 – that’s over 100 points.

    Photo Credit: Lauri Rentala 

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    May 7, 2015
    How To Start Saving For Retirement

    It is never too soon to start saving for retirement. In fact, the younger you are when you start, the better. Compound interest and time are your friends. Unfortunately, most teens and young adults do not think about life after retirement, and most have no idea how to get started. Another common misconception is that you need a full time, well-paying job to begin. This leads to many people not starting until they are in their late 20s, or even their 30s. If so, you are cheating yourself out of potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars. For tips on beginning your retirement fund at any age (and with any amount of money), check out this post by JL Penner at Frugal Living Mom:

    -Start a savings account, and put a little of each paycheck into it. You can do this with a part time job as a teen.

    -Take advantage of a 401(K) plan. Many employers match a certain percentage of your income as long as you contribute the same amount to your 401k. 

    -Sign up for an IRA or a Roth IRA- both have different types of tax benefits. Talk with a financial advisor!

    Photo Credit: Ralph Zuranski 

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    May 4, 2015
    Forcing Frugal

    Resolving to become better with money is easy. Following through is what’s hard. Creating budgets and sticking to them, consistently saving, and going after debt can be challenging if you’ve never done it before. Just like losing weight or quitting a bad habit, becoming frugal requires major lifestyle changes. Some people are naturally more money-minded, and others have to work harder. Check out this post by Manuela Williams at A Cultivated Nest for tips on learning how to become frugal when it doesn’t come easy to you:

    As you start your frugal living lifestyle, take it upon yourself to learn everything that you can. Read savings blogs, websites, and books. Join Facebook groups. Immerse yourself in the culture.

    Set yourself up for success by reducing temptation.- Some people freeze their credit cards in blocks of ice so they won’t be tempted by them. Some people stay out of the mall or Target and shop elsewhere if that’s their problem.

    Photo Credit: J Ridgeway Photography 

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    April 30, 2015
    Mortgage Rates Show Slight Increase This April

    If you are considering buying a home, sooner may be better than later. Even though it is a seller’s market, if you want the lowest possible interest rate, it would be wise to get shopping before they increase again. While mortgage rates are still relatively low, they did scoot up a bit this past month. Check out this post by Teke Wiggin at Inman for more:

    Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.68 percent with an average point of 0.6 for the week ending April 30, up from 3.65 percent last week but down from 4.29 percent a year ago.

    Photo Credit: nikcname 

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