Tag Archives: save

Money Monday: Tips to avoid college debt

“What steps can parents take to help themselves and their children avoid getting caught in the college debt trap?

  1. Create a budget to track all money coming in and going out of your household. Make savings a prominent and permanent part of it.
  2. Begin saving for college costs as early as possible through tax-advantaged savings vehicles such as 529 and Coverdell education savings plans.
  3. Apply for scholarships and grants.
  4. Consider work-study programs to help offset tuition costs…”

More tips on Forbes’ article: “6 Ways to Save Your Kids From the Rising Cost of Education and Prevent the College Debt Trap.”

Money Monday: Saving for major expenses

Here’s a quick estimate on how much you should save per major expense.

save money

Photo by 401kcalculator.org

“With interest rates going up, the cost of borrowing money to pay for major life expenses is also going up. The Federal Reserve has already raised the interest rate three times this year and will most likely raise rates again before the year is out. After years of relatively unchanging rates, it’s become more important for consumers to plan for major expenses. Planning can include researching prices, creating a budget and – most importantly – saving as much as possible to put toward the goal.

“The key to preparing for any major expense is knowing how much to save. While everyone’s financial situation is different, there are some rules of thumb to keep in mind for most major expenses.”

Read the rest of U.S. News’ article here: “How Much Should You Save to Fund Major Expenses?”

Money Monday: New Year, New Financial Resolutions

It’s the start of 2018, and a great time to make financial resolutions!

Need to save more? Check out my posts on saving (here), with topics on easy ways to save, changing your spending impulses, and saving for a house down payment, just to name a few.

If you’re delving into the life stage of buying a house, find all sorts of real estate financial tips and advice here.

For advice on spending money responsibility, click here.

Check out all of my Money Monday posts!

Photo from Pictures of Money

Money Monday: Many Americans aren’t saving enough

In a Bankrate survey, half of Americans are saving 5% or less of their income, with only a quarter saving 10% or more.

That’s far below the recommended 15% savings that Bankrate recommends — only about 1 in 7 Americans are saving that much.

The middle class appears to be doing the most saving, with 35% of income earners of $50,000 to $74,999 annually saving more than 10%. Those in the $75,000+ annual wage bracket are a close second, with 32% saving 10% or more of their income.

Read more about Bankrate’s findings in CNN’s article here: “Half of Americans are saving next to nothing”.

Do you need more Money Monday tips, so that you’re saving more of your money? View all of my posts on money here. Some related Money Monday topics: Common money mistakes, Frugal living rules, and Prioritize bills when you’re low on cash.

Money Monday: 5 money resolutions to make in 2016

With a new year comes a fresh opportunity to get your finances in order.

money“And thanks to Wall Street’s wild ride in 2015, more Americans plan to make financial resolutions, according to a recent Fidelity survey.

“While the top two resolutions of “save more” and “spend less” seem pretty straight forward, they’re easier said than done…

“Here are more money moves experts recommend adding to your resolution list:”

1. Pay off debt

2. Create an emergency fund

3. Increase your retirement savings

4. Assess your investment strategy

5. Review your insurance coverage

Read CNN Money’s article in full here: “5 money resolutions to make in 2016”.

Four steps to buying a house in 2012

Q: I am on a mission to buy a home. I’ve wanted to own a home my entire life, and thought I would miss the opportunity to buy while the market was down, because I had no real savings when the market crashed. I think I’m ready, though, and prices still seem low. What should I be doing now to make this happen in 2012?

A: The recession has done lots of favors for buyers-to-be, including dropping prices and interest rates to bargain levels. But it has also created a lending and housing market climate in which loans are tough to get, tensions about buying into a down market run high, and transactions are harder and longer to close than they have ever been.

Here are the things to do now, to buy a home this year:

1. Fix credit problems. More deals than ever are dying on the vine, and credit problems are a top reason home-sale transactions fall out of escrow. Detect and correct errors on your credit report now by reviewing the federally mandated free reports you can get at AnnualCreditReport.com.

2. Study up. Do some research, both online and offline, into things like:

Areas: Start your online research into decision points like tax rates, school districts, neighborhood character and even prices in various areas. Check out NabeWise.com for some local insight into neighborhood flavor and personality.

When you start connecting with local agents, ask them to brief you on neighborhood market dynamics. They can give you a deeper view into need-to-knows like how long homes typically stay on the market and whether they generally go for more or less than the asking price, so you can be smart about how you search vis-à-vis what you have to spend.

Agents: This is the perfect time to ask your family and friends for a referral to an agent they know, have used and love. Then, follow up by doing an online search for the agent’s name and seeing what sort of online reviews and activities you find. When you’ve narrowed the field down to a few, call them up and set up a meeting to find out if you’re a good fit.

Distressed properties: In some areas, more than 40 percent of the homes on the market are short sales and foreclosures, and they involve a very different timeline and set of facts than traditional home sales. Read up and talk with the agent candidates you interview about what you should expect from these types of listings, to minimize surprise and manage your expectations way in advance.

3. Save even more. Sounds like you’ve worked hard for a number of years to save enough cash that you think you’re in the clear when it comes to funding your down payment and closing costs. Studies show that after months of saving, people often let up and relax into a spending season. Even at your early stage in the process, it’s easy to start noticing and buying the furnishings and touches you want to install in your new home.

Although you shouldn’t feel deprived or forgo amazing and affordable deals on things you know you’re going to need, rest assured that no matter what amount of cash you have on hand, when you start house hunting, making offers, closing your transaction or moving in, the time will definitely come when you’ll wish you had more.

You might want to ratchet up your offer a bit to best another buyer, or you might just end up with a place that needs a little sprucing up. It might be months before you know exactly what you’ll need extra cash for, but now is not the time to press the gas pedal when it comes to your monthly spending.

4. Purge. Now’s the time to sell, donate or give away as much of your personal possessions as you can. Use the proceeds to pad your cash cushion, or tuck the donation receipts away for your tax records next year.

Start here, and chances are good that your house hunt — and purchase — will be in full swing by spring, if not sooner.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is an author and the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com.

Guest Post: Managing your finances before homeownership to save your home from a foreclosure

Managing your finances before homeownership to save your home from a foreclosure

Are you planning to purchase a new home? If yes, you have to buck up your finances so that you don’t fall in trouble in the near future and then risk losing your home to a forced foreclosure. Managing your finances is the most important job that you have to do when you plan to take out a home mortgage loan from a bank. The mortgage loan entails your home as collateral so that when the borrower defaults to make the payments on time, the lender can foreclose the house and recuperate the money. How much house can I afford is the most important question a borrower should ask himself before taking the plunge. Here are some important steps that you should take in order to manage your finances once you plan to take out a home loan.

  • Stop all the unnecessary expenses: Whenever you contemplate buying a new house and forget paying further rent, you should stop making all the unnecessary expenses that you can do without. If you don’t read magazines, stop the monthly subscriptions to magazines. If you can cook well, stop dining out every weekend as this will save your dollars in the long run. You can even do without the cable connection at home. If you can build an emergency fund, you can easily take out a mortgage loan at an affordable rate.
  • Stop using your credit cards: Are you aware of the fact that the mortgage lender will check your DTI ratio or the debt-to-income ratio that is the ratio between the total monthly debt obligations with your monthly income. If you keep on purchasing things with your credit cards, you’ll drown in unsecured debt and thereby be forced to take out a home mortgage loan at an unaffordable interest rate. Therefore, stuff your wallet with cash so that you may stop buying things when you’re exhausted.
  • Save enough money: Yes, this is the ultimate secret that will take you to the path of a smooth mortgage loan approval. The mortgage loan underwriter will check the amount you’re paying down while taking out the loan amount. The more you pay down, the lower will be the rate offered to you. You should save enough money so that you can at least pay down 20% of the loan amount and avoid paying PMIs later on.
  • Keep track on your credit score: Don’t take any wrong step that can hit your credit score. Pull out a copy of your credit score time to time so that you know where you stand financially. Repair your credit as much as possible so as to grab the best mortgage loan at the most covetable cost.

When you’re dreaming of homeownership, make sure you follow the money tips mentioned above. By taking all the tips mentioned above, you can get the most appropriate loan in accordance with your affordability. Don’t forget to ask yourself “how much house can I afford” before taking out the loan.