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Tips for First Time Homebuyers

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If you’re thinking of buying a home your mind may be filled with lists of things to do, companies to call and appointments to make.  The truth is being a first time homebuyer is a big deal because it’s probably the largest (and most expensive) investment you’ll ever make.   So take your time, save and plan your purchase.

Here are a few tips to help you out along the way to becoming a first time homebuyer:

Don’t rush into anything

I always suggest starting to look at homes about six months before you actually want to move because it gives you time to discover all possibilities before making an offer to purchase.  That being said there’s no need to rush when it comes to buying your first home.  Take your time to find the perfect house, or at least as close to it as you can.

Hiring a real estate agent can significantly speed up the process.  They can help narrow down your search criteria, make recommendations on locations as well as help negotiate the purchase price.

Give yourself a couple of years to decorate

The best advice I’ve ever heard when it comes buying your first home was “I put more money down and lived with less furniture.”  That was the advice my co-worker gave me when she bought her home and it’s stuck with me ever since.

I am living in this exact situation right now.  BF and I are coming up on the one year anniversary in our new apartment (October 1st) and it’s still not looking exactly as I want it to.  I have a need to make everything look picture perfect the day we moved in, but that’s just not realistic.  I’m glad we’re taking our time to decorate as oppose to spending a ton of cash and possibly getting into debt over making our home pretty.

Make sure you have emergency savings

I think any homeowner will tell you that there are always unexpected expenses that pop up when you buy a house.  Sometimes getting into debt over a leaky roof, burst pipe or furnace malfunction is the only option you have, but if you can avoid it I think your wallet will thank you.

Having a house can be expensive and it may seem like you have no extra cash after you move in.  This may be true, but we can’t forget that saving is still important.  Saving a little bit of money – even 5% – of your pay check will help build up an emergency savings fund in case an unforeseen event happens.

Factor in ongoing costs to your budget

Your mortgage isn’t the only expense you have when it comes to buying your first home.  There are the additional ongoing costs of property tax,  utilities and maintenance upkeep.  Your grass won’t cut itself and the snow won’t shovel itself.  If you don’t have the means to pay someone to do it for you then you’ll have to do it yourself, but you’ll have to buy the necessary equipment.

What’s your best tip for first time homebuyers?

Photo from Pixabay

 

4 Last Minute Cheap Travel Tips

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If you need a break from your daily routine or if everything around you is getting on your nerves it may be time to take a last minute trip.  A lot of people say it’s very expensive to travel last minute and this can be true if you’re trying to travel for convenience and if you’re dead set on the travel details.

I usually only plan one big trip per year and the other weekend getaways or day trips I take are completely spontaneous.  Whenever I feel like the weight of the world is getting too heavy on my shoulders I pack a bag and getaway.  The best part is that I do it on the cheap.

Here are four last minute cheap travel tips:

Forget about booking a flight

Airlines completely take advantage of last minute travellers.  Mostly because when people travel last minute it’s for an emergency and they really have no other choice so airlines jack up the prices.  Consider more budget-friendly travel options such as taking the bus or train.

I absolutely love taking Amtrak because it lets travellers see the country without having to worry about paying attention to the road and other drivers.  Greyhound is my least favorite method of transport, but it’s my most used because it’s the cheapest.  Travelling overnight will make the bus ride bearable because you get on, go to sleep and wake up at your destination.  It’s perfect.

Don’t be set on your destination

We all have our favorite places to travel, but sometimes trying a new destination can result in saving money.  Of course we all know that New York City is my vacation spot preference, however if going to another city such as Boston or Philadelphia saves me money then I’m open to options.

Search travel websites such as Priceline or Expedia to compare hotel prices in your top three cities of choice.  Then compare the cost of transportation and the cheapest overall travel cost is where you should go.  It’s that easy.

Be flexible on the times and dates

You may be surprised at the price difference between a stay from Friday to Sunday and a stay from Sunday to Tuesday.  Weekend stays are usually more expensive because that’s when people are free to travel without taking any time off work.

If you can be flexible on your travel dates it can end up saving you money.  You know my motto: Every dollar saved on hotels and transportation is a dollar that can be spent on food and shopping.

Bring a friend

This is a definitely a last minute cheap travel tip, but it rarely happens to me.  I work alone and am therefore free to travel upon my manager’s approval.  My friends aren’t so lucky.  They usually need to give 30 days notice for any vacation requests in order to make sure their duties are covered and no other team mates are on vacation at the same time.

When you bring a friend along on your weekend road trip you just cut your cost in half.  If you bring two friends then your cost is cut down to one third of the original price.  Now that’s smart travelling.

Photo from Pixabay

How to Make Your Home More Eco Friendly for under $100

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I think it’s safe to say we all want to make the Earth more sustainable by becoming more eco-friendly – or at least some of us do.  I am definitely one of those people.  Part of it is because my lovely boyfriend BF is incredibly eco-conscious and the other part is because it makes me feel good by knowing I’m doing my part to make the world a better place.

How are you becoming more eco-friendly?

Start recycling

This is probably the easiest – and cheapest – way to start being green.  A recycling bin at Home Depot costs less than $15.  It takes a little bit of effort on your part but the end result is less waste in landfills and more products made from recyclable materials.

Every area recycles differently so contact your local city office to find out the rules and regulations, but the just of it is this: you separate recyclable materials from your regular garbage and put them out by the curb on the designated pick up day (which is usually different than the trash day).

Recyclable materials include cans, paper and plastic.  Check all your bottles, cans, cereal boxes and other consumer packaging for the recycle symbol.  It’s important to note that not all cardboard and paper is recyclable – at least not in our city.

Change your light bulbs

The next time your light bulb burns out don’t replace it with an energy consuming $0.89 light bulb.  Spend a little extra to buy eco-friendly LED light bulbs, trust me you’ll be thankful later.  Not only are LED light bulbs energy efficient but they also save you money in the long run because they last longer than a regular light bulb.

An energy efficient 9.5 Watt LED light bulb is the equivalent of a regular 60 Watt light bulb.  The cost is $2.48 per bulb at Lowes and the entire life is 15,000 hours of eco-friendly light.  This is an inexpensive way to make your home more eco-friendly for less than $100.

Think about buying recycled materials

Recycling your own materials is one way to help the environment when you’re getting materials out of your home, but buying recycled materials is a great way to become more eco-conscious when bringing new materials into your space.

You would be surprised at the amount of stuff we can buy from recycled materials such as rubber tires, cotton clothes and bags as well as paper for your computer and toilet paper for the bathroom.  So the next time you’re at Staples or Wal-Mart look for items that have been produced from recycled materials.  The cost is comparable – especially when items are on sale – and the quality is very similar.

What’s your best eco-friendly tip?

Photo from Pixabay

Cutting the Cost of Your Big Day!

wedding costsTying the knot is going to be one of the most magical and memorable days of your life. Despite this, the stress of funding the day can often take over. Regularly couples depend upon their parents to help with their wedding or others may dip into their savings. However many require a loan to fund the day ensure you research fully and find the one that best suits your state of affairs.

Once you have your final figure that you want to spend there are many ways to save which I have listed below.

First of all make sure you negotiate to get the top deal possible when booking your venue. This also goes for catering the day. Request a discount, people often don’t like doing this but be bold and enquire, if you don’t ask you don’t get! Changing the day that your wedding takes place can often save you a fortune, having it on a Friday or a Monday most of the time will be far cheaper than having it on a Saturday. Opting to have both the service and reception at the same location also saves a lot of money. There won’t be any need to concern yourself with wedding cars which can be tremendously costly, also there is no need to pay to transport your guests from said ceremony to the reception. Decorating costs are also halved as you can use the same flowers etc. By negotiating on one thing often frees cash up for something you always dreamed of. For example by saving on your venue, you could then be more lavish with your catering, it could help to go towards your dream menu.

For that big white dress of your dreams there is no need to spend an absolute fortune, it is easy to get carried away, you need to keep in mind that you are wearing this dress once! If needs be you can opt for a second hand dress for under half the price, there are so many websites offering these. Sample sales are also another way to save, many designers will sell off the sample pieces before they bring out the new season dresses, these can then be altered.

Wedding planning is moving with the times meaning most items can now be rented. This goes far beyond the suits. You are now able to rent almost any decorations and bridesmaid dresses for a fraction of the price that it would be to buy them.

Later services are also becoming more popular. Thus avoiding a sit down dinner you will save a massive amount, also freeing you up to potentially invite more guests. Many couples often go for a BBQ/Buffet option instead giving your wedding a less formal vibe, and saving you money at the same time

When it comes to the alcohol for your big day there is no need to have lavish spirits. Just stick to lagers and wine. Likewise unless your heart is set on it don’t have a wedding cake, they aren’t an indispensable part of the day. You could opt for cupcakes, chocolate fondue or a sweet cart.

I hope this has been helpful and wish you a wonderful wedding day!