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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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    November 25, 2014
    Frugal Frustrations? Have No Fear!

    Whether you’re trying to pay off debt, saving for a big purchase like a home or car, or simply just trying to use your money more wisely, living frugally is the way to go. Strictly following a budget, reusing old items, shopping at thrift stores, and buying only essentials requires an extraordinary amount of willpower. And it can get really difficult. When the going gets tough, it helps to remember why you started. Read this post by Emily at Frugal Living NW:

    -By being frugal in one area, I can splurge in another

    -Saving the money is better than replacing income

    -Spending less is a choice- choose to walk away from impulse buys

    Photo Credit: Tax Credits 


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    November 24, 2014
    Extra Cash For The Holidays

    Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Secret Santa. Gifts for kids, relatives, friends, and even the dog. The holidays are a joyous and beautiful time, but it can be draining- especially on your bank account. Some ways to afford Christmas gifts are: save money throughout the year, look for coupons and sales, and do a little DIY. Sometimes, though, you just need some extra cash. Picking up a side job is a great way to bring in the dough! Check out these ideas by Addi at Frugal Fanatic:

    -Gift wrapper

    -Snow removal

    -Sales associate- EVERYWHERE is hiring seasonal workers for the holidays!

    -Warehouse jobs

    -Package delivery

    -Store greeters

    -Mall Santa- if you like kids and have the look! 

    Photo Credit: Greg Knapp 


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    November 21, 2014
    Friday Fun Video: Money Saving Hacks
    http://www.dailymotion.com/videox1ldjjd

    Cool ways to save money on expensive products!


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    November 18, 2014
    Simple Money Saving Tips

    A goal that I’m working toward in my life is to be more frugal. Now, I do okay. I pay my bills on time, and try to follow a budget. However, I also know that “you can’t take it with you,” and I’m not afraid to splurge on things that I love. So, since I like to live frugally, but also spend money on little luxuries, I’m always on the look out for tips that will save me money. I love this infographic at Greatist because it has a very simple list of ideas- that will add up if you combine them. Bonus- they’re all Eco-friendly.

    -Use cloth napkins and diapers

    -Eat less meat

    -Line dry your laundry

    -Turn off the lights

    -Carpool

    -Fix broken things instead of throwing them out

    -Buy pre-owned

    -Recycle and Reuse

    Photo Credit: James Wang 


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    November 17, 2014
    Finding A Lender

    Choosing a lender can be a lot like choosing a romantic partner. It’s important to find someone that is understanding, compassionate, and down for the long term haul. You need to do your research as well, and make sure you’re not ending up with someone shady. It’s also worth noting to not just go with the first lender that has the lowest interest rate (okay, so the romantic partner analogy kind of falls through here). For tips on what to look for when choosing a lender, read this post by 1st House Search. Here’s what to ask:

    -What is the current interest rate for conventional loans?

    -What is the APR?

    -What are lengths of loans, and what loan programs do they offer?

    -How long have they been in business?

    -Always check with more than one lender- don’t be afraid to shop around

    Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver 


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    November 13, 2014
    Strong Housing Market For 2015?

    According to this post by Mark Edwards at Active Rain, economists are now predicting a secure and robust year for the housing market next year. Since the 2008 collapse, the market has steadily been gaining momentum. As of 2014, the market has been great for the few sellers that are willing to take the risk. Demand is way up, and supply is down- and experts have forecast an even stronger market next year. Check out the full post for more info:

    An improving economy, low mortgage rates, larger household formations, and pent-up demand will help increase single family home production in 2015, according to economists who participated in the NAHB Fall Construction Forecast Webinar last month.

    Photo Credit: Spirit Fire


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    November 12, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Modern Beach-Side Architecture

    Photo from Pinterest


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    November 11, 2014
    Happy Veteran’s Day! VA Loan Benefits

    As active or retired military, there are plenty of government benefits that you can use. Since you are protecting your country, you should definitely take advantage of the benefits it offers as a token of gratitude. One of the biggest benefits offered to military is the VA loan program. With the current housing situation and mortgage lending restrictions, getting a VA mortgage is definitely a huge asset! Read this article by Veterans United at Realtor.com for more reasons why a VA mortgage might be right for you and your family:

    -There is no down payment

    -You don’t need to get mortgage insurance

    -There are more flexible and forgiving requirements

    -There are closing cost limits imposed- you won’t be paying an arm and a leg!

    Photo Credit: isafmedia


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    November 10, 2014
    One Way To Pay Off Your Mortgage Fast

    When buying a home, most people opt for the standard, 30 year fixed rate mortgage. However, lots of people don’t even consider other alternatives. For instance, an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) can actually be paid off much more quickly if you know how to use it. For more information, read this article by Tony Moton at Yahoo Homes:

    Though not as popular as the much more common fixed-rate mortgage (FRM), an ARM might be the right choice if you’re willing to trade in the long-term stability of steady house payments for the riskier, short-term gain of lower interest rates for a specified period of time. “People take fixed-rate mortgages out of fear, but the 5-year [ARM] is a better product over time,” says Rosenblatt .

    Be sure to read the entire post for the benefits and the drawbacks of an ARM. Of course, they may not be for everyone, but whatever you do, don’t write it off without doing your own research!

    Photo Credit: Woodley Wonder Works 


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    November 6, 2014
    Don’t Be Crushed By Your Mortgage Payment

    Finding out how much home you can afford is the first step to beginning the home buying process. It’s important to look at your income, and determine how much you will be able to pay a month; this is the key to setting a budget. But, it can be extremely easy to deviate from the budget and end up being “house poor.” You don’t want to spend 95% of your paycheck on your mortgage, then have nothing left for other essentials! Many Realtors I know will refuse to show people homes outside of their budget for that very reason. For tips on resisting the temptation of over spending, read this post by Kimberly Duncan at Veterans United:

    -Get prequalified for a loan for an estimate, but be aware of your own situation. Just because you qualify for a $200,000 loan doesn’t mean you should buy a $200,000 house.

    -Don’t get emotionally involved

    -Don’t calculate it with minimum payments in mind- always leave allowance for emergencies and larger payments.

    Photo Credit: Mark Moz 


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