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Friday Faves: I’m Home Sweet Home

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Happy Friday!  Time to take it easy at work and make your plans for the weekend.  Mine include sleeping, lots and lots of sleeping.  I travelled quite a bit this week and after spending two days on a train and three nights in a hotel I’m ready to spend some time in my own bed.

That’s the thing about travelling, I love it but at the same time I’m happy to come home.

Have a great weekend and enjoy these good reads from our friends:

Frugal Beautiful – 4 Ways to Get Better Sleep Tonight

Broke Girl Rich – What Did Your First Job Teach You?

Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses – Tax Season: Why I Love It and My Husband Hates It

Add Vodka – My Emotions Got The Best of Me

The Frugal Farmer – 7 Ways to Trick Yourself into Saving Money

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4 things you need to know about buying a home

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It’s almost spring and that means people all around the country are spending their weekends visiting other people’s homes in hopes of finding a gem for their new abode.  Are you one of them?  Spring is a great time to look for a new home because spring fever has us itching to get outside and spring cleaning has us wanting change.

If you’re shopping for a new home this year keep these four tips in mind:

A real estate agent may be worth it

I know some people think hiring a real estate agent isn’t worth the cost but trust me when I say it can save you a lot of time.  I for one like researching online to find the best of whatever it is I need but I just don’t have time.

Real estate agents know other real estate agents and they know as soon a property is coming on the market, that in itself is worth the cost.  Oh and I should mention that it’s not the home buyer who pays the real estate agent commission fee, it’s the seller.  So if you’re looking for a home, look for a real estate agent first.

Always stick to your budget

I can’t stress this enough.  There is absolutely no reason to go over budget when it comes to buying a home because there will always be another home out there with another seller willing to negotiate the price.

You may not find your dream home with all the amenities on your wish list but maybe that wasn’t a realistic goal for your budget.  Visit your bank, get a preapproval to find out how much you can afford and stick to that number.  Trust me an extra $10,000 might seem like peanuts in comparison to your total mortgage price, but amortized over 30 years it’s a lot of money.

Talk with your bank

If you’re buying your first home talk to your bank.  They’re experts, banks help clients buy and sell homes every day.  Your bank will guide you through the home buying process and even recommend a real estate agent and a notary to make your process even easier.

At this point in the game your bank is here to help, you’ll get to the nitty gritty when it’s time to negotiate your mortgage rate.

Shop for a mortgage rate

You’ll go to your bank for a pre approval when you start shopping for your home and they’ll give you an amount they’re willing to lend, interest rates won’t be discussed yet.  When you find the home you want to buy and you’re ready to make an offer, this is when the negotiations will start.   If you take anything away from this today it’s to always negotiate your mortgage rate.

When you walk in to your bank the mortgage representative will tell you that they are offering the best rate possible – but that’s never true.  Banks can always negotiate rates even if it’s a 0.10% discount.  Never accept the first interest rate offer.

If you’re bank can’t offer you a lower rate don’t be afraid to shop around.  Go to another bank, find a mortgage broker or use a comparison website like Lowest Rates.  You can also negotiate other options in your mortgage deal such as the bank paying for home inspection fees or the notary costs.  Always keep in mind they want your business and don’t be afraid to walk away.

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3 ways to get your spring cleaning done

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Good morning Loves.  March is half way over and as we changed the clocks for Daylight Savings Time hopefully it’s a sign that spring is just around the corner.

I for one love this time of year. The smell of rain, the warm(er) brisk air that lets you leave the house without mittens but still with a scarf and mornings when you wake up with the sun already shining.  I like stepping outside in the morning and actually walking on the sidewalk pavement as oppose to inches of snow and salt.  Yesterday for the first time this year BF and I actually opened our windows, if only for a brief 30 seconds.

Yes I think it’s safe to say warmer weather is soon to come!  I don’t know about you but this time of year always makes me want to clean something.  I have the need for a fresh start which in my world doesn’t involve relocating, it includes organizing, cleaning and purging my belongings.  Do you get the same spring fever?

Spring cleaning can be a lot of work, but honestly it’s all worth it in the end when you have a sparkling new home and you did it all by yourself. Here are three ways I’m jumping into spring cleaning this year:

Donate your clothes

Closets and drawers are big space savers but they are also the most forgot about place in the bedroom, well maybe after under the bed.  I know if I put something in my walk in closet the odds are I’ll forget about it and won’t be able to find it when I need it, even if it’s in my secret hiding spot.

Instead of your closet being a black hole for your wardrobe why not use your items for some good.  If you have clothes that haven’t been worn in the last six months (two seasons) get rid of them.  Put them in a box and donate them to a local women’s shelter.  It’s better that someone uses them as oppose to them just sitting in my closet.

Clean out your cosmetics

Ladies, if you’re like me you have bags and boxes and containers of nail polishes, lip glosses, perfume, eye shadows and face creams.  How often do you throw out a nail polish because it’s dried up or toss your mascara because it’s clumpy?  Probably more often than we’d like to admit.

I used to be the queen of free gifts with purchase but that landed me with a bathroom full of cosmetics that I will never use.  Instead I decided to donate them to a local youth charity.  This way girls getting ready for prom have brand new makeup.  I figured they will wear them out a lot quicker than I will.

Tackle your linen closet

Ah the linen closet. It smells of downy and it’s stacked with fluffy towels, but it also has a pile of bed sheets I’ll never use and medicine that expired long ago.  This is probably my favorite part of spring cleaning because I’m actually getting rid of items I can’t use as oppose to don’t use.

Back in October when BF and I moved into our new apartment we bought a king size bed and two sets of new bed sheets.  You would think that I would immediately toss out my old bed sheets, but no.  I kept them “just in case”.  In case of what I don’t know because they don’t fit our bed and as of last week I’m happy to say I no longer have them in my linen closet.

Have you started your spring cleaning?

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How Life Insurance Premiums Are Determined

If you have ever shopped around for life insurance, you know that the premiums for the insurance policies can vary widely from company to company for the same amount of insurance. This is because there are a number of factors that go into calculating the premium of a life insurance policy. Some of these factors you have no control over, while some others are things regarding your lifestyle that you can control fairly easily. Here are some of the most important factors for determining your life insurance premiums.

Your Health

Your current health is an important factor when insurance companies calculate the premium you will be required to pay for a life insurance policy. You cannot change things like your family history for certain illnesses and chronic illnesses that you have already been diagnosed with, but factors like whether you are a smoker and whether you are overweight will also heavily weigh on the calculation. If you have been denied life insurance due to your health, you can get life insurance with no medical exam required. The premiums will be higher, but it will be better than having no life insurance protection at all.

Your Age And Sex

Your current age and your sex are also big factors when it comes to determining life insurance policy premiums. Younger people are offered lower premium prices because it is less likely that they will die in the near future. This is a good reason to lock in low premiums while you are young, even though you may be paying premiums to the life insurance company for many years. Sex matters simply because women tend to live longer than men. Because it is likely that women will paying the insurance company premiums for more years than men would, they can expect to be quoted lower premium rates for the same amount of insurance.

Your Occupation And Hobbies

Your occupation and hobbies will also be a factor in your life insurance quote. People that are employed in more dangerous occupations, like construction, are more of a risk for the life insurance company than someone employed as an accountant; therefore the employees in the riskier jobs will be required to pay higher premiums. For the same reasons, mountain climbers and skydivers will face higher insurance premiums than golfers and stamp collectors. Your driving records may also come into play, as multiple speeding tickets indicate a risky driver. Because there are so many factors that go into calculating the premium for a life insurance policy, it is best to use a life insurance comparison website like InsureChance to determine which policy will provide you with ample coverage for an affordable premium price.