“Silly question, right? Who doesn’t want some extra cash? The good news is, there are simple things you can do in just 20 minutes to avoid wasting your hard-earned dollars. Jump right in and get started to take advantage of the savings.”
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1. Ask your credit card company for a reduced interest rate or an annual-fee waiver
2. Cancel a service that isn’t providing value
3. Raise your insurance deductible (if you can cover it)
Let’s consider some of the financial realities about owning a home.
In an opinion piece in the Fresno Bee newspaper, the writer made the case for why Congress should keep a tax incentive to encourage Americans to be homeowners. Regardless of your opinion on the matter, the author’s points on the financial positives of homeownership were beneficial and worth a read.
“Owning a home is one of the best ways to build long-term wealth, providing both equity accumulation and tax benefits over time. In 2013, the median net worth of homeowner families was $195,400, while the median net worth of renters was $5,400, according to the Federal Reserve.”
“Homeownership strengthens communities, encourages higher civic participation, boosts children’s educational performance, lowers crime rates, and improves health-care outcomes. Moreover, homeowners bring more stability to neighborhoods because they tend to move less often.”
“Homeownership helps provide predictability. Individuals can enjoy steady and consistent housing costs thanks to the tax incentive that allows them to own a home. That’s because a fixed-rate mortgage payment might not change for 15 to 39 years, while rents typically increase 2 to 3 percent a year.”
“Credit cards can be a dangerous thing when abused, but when used correctly, they actually offer a number advantages that cash simply can’t match. To make the most of your credit card, be sure to steer clear of these major blunders.”
“Most people don’t put much thought into their credit scores until the time comes to apply for a loan. If you expect to need financing in the next few months and aren’t convinced your credit score is high enough to get you approved, you’ll need to act quickly to improve your chances. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to boost your credit score in record time.” (“4 tips to increase your credit score fast.” Maurie Backman. 8 May 2017. http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/08/pf/credit-score-tips/index.html?iid=Lead)
One way to increase your credit score? Ask for an increase in your credit limit. But read CNN’s article for more tips!
Even if you have the financial means to put in an all-cash offer, you may not want to do so.
All-cash offers can be more appealing to home-sellers, but you also need to take into consideration the other aspects of paying so much cash upfront.
Will you have enough liquidity left? At least a few thousand dollars left in your pocket is ideal. You may have repairs, upgrades you desire to make, and increased utility and maintenance costs for your new house — not to mention your typical costs and unexpected financial needs (such as medical bills or suddenly losing employment).
What if you easily qualify for a mortgage? Interest rates are still on the low-side, and by obtaining a mortgage to purchase a house, you would be able to keep a large chunk of your finances.
Paying all-cash means you miss out on a tax break. When you have a mortgage, you are able to receive a tax break on the interest paid to the mortgage lender.
With just a day before the April 18 deadline to file your taxes, here’s a few last minute tips.
File! Even if you don’t have all the money to pay, it’s much better to file a return than to not file at all. “The penalties for not filing a tax return are 10 times greater than those for filing but not being able to pay taxes due.” (Money.CNN.com. “5 last-minute tax tips you need to know now.” http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/13/pf/taxes/tax-tips/index.html?iid=SF_LN)
You can file for an extension. It’s simple and quick to do on the IRS website, and it will buy you some time. Just be aware that late-payment penalties will be tacked on, beginning after the April 18 deadline.
You can still get professional help. One place to go for help is the VITA program; the “Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provides specially trained IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers that can help taxpayers with basic income-tax preparation needs.” (Money.CNN.com. “5 last-minute tax tips you need to know now.” http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/13/pf/taxes/tax-tips/index.html?iid=SF_LN)
Buying a home — it’s a big decision; one that you should prepare for in advance.
“One of the most important things a first-time homebuyer can do is prepare their budget for this big financial event.” (“How to Prepare Your Budget for Buying Your First Home”. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/prepare-budget-buying-first-home-123000854.html)
And there’s a few key ways that you can get your budget in order: