Four Strategies for Saving Money

When you stop and think about it, there are quite a few money-saving opportunities out there that you may not be taking advantage of.

Here are a few ideas worth considering:

  • Automobile Insurance: If you haven’t touched base with your insurance agent in a few years, it might pay to call or email them to review your policy. Until you ask, you never know what kind of insurance discounts you may be eligible for. For example, savings can often be obtained by taking a defensive drivers’ course, purchasing your automobile and homeowners’ insurance from one agency, commuting a shorter distance to work or telecommuting, or simply having a safe driving record. In some cases, you could save a chunk of money by shopping around and switching to a less expensive insurance provider.
  • Cell phone services: Make sure the cell phone service plan you have is competitive and geared to your needs and data usage patterns. With at least four major service providers to choose from (Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile), it make sense to do some comparative research to make informed choices regarding prices, features, time commitments, and services. Checking out online reviews and comparing notes with friends, family, and coworkers about cell phone services can also help you save money.
  • Credit cards: If you’re like many people, you probably get inundated with credit card offers, every week. Since it’s such a competitive industry, some credit card offers are clearly better than others. While the most prudent approach is to limit your credit card use as much as possible, it also makes sense to seek out the best deals, the lowest interest rates, and the most favorable terms. Assuming your credit card payments are up to date and you’ve maintained a good credit history, it’s often possible to negotiate a lower interest rate on your current credit cards, too. That alone could make it easier to pay off your balance and save money.
  • Contractors: Whether you’re considering remodeling your bathroom, replacing your roof, updating your kitchen, painting or re-siding your house, waterproofing your basement, or building a backyard deck, prices can vary widely from one contractor to the next. While it’s important to hire a contractor who’s experienced, honest, insured, easy to work with, and dependable, there’s no reason to pay exorbitant prices for good quality work. Getting at least three price estimates on projects around the house is generally a good way to ensure you’re not getting overcharged. Online reviews and personal recommendations from relatives, friends, and neighbors can often point you in the direction of a good residential contractor.

One of the most important principles of smart money management is to make sure you’re getting the most value for your dollar. As a consumer, you entitled to shop around, get the best deal, and be satisfied with the quality of products and services you’re purchasing.

New Home, New Budget: Here’s What You Need To Know

Buying a home is a big change. New surroundings, new town and sometimes even a new state. And these things take time to get used to.

But there’s one thing you want to adjust to as quickly as possible – your new budget.

You already know that with a move comes lots of expenses and fees. However, there are a lot of long-term changes you might not realize to take into consideration until they show up in your mailbox.

One is your mortgage payment over the years. Okay, I know you know that your mortgage payment has changed. But what you should consider is how to plan to make that payment each and every month. Sometimes life happens and we don’t have a great month and sometimes we have a string of not so good months. It’s best to come up with a plan now to prepare yourself if anything should happen

It’s recommended to keep three months worth of living expenses saved and put to the side for emergencies. Perhaps you already have money set aside and need to increase this amount to reflect your new lifestyle. And if you don’t have any set-aside, it’s wise to start a savings plan now. Even if you are only able to put aside a small amount each month, your total will grow over time as you stick to the plan.

Home insurance, property taxes, and homeowner association fees/dues. If this is your first time owning a home these will all be new expenses for you and ones you don’t want to catch you by surprise. And if it’s not they are certain expenses you will need to account for. Be sure to add these to your budgeting software of choice ASAP.

Seasonal budget changes. Throughout the seasons you may find significant changes to your expenses. If you have moved to a larger home you will probably find you have higher utility bills, especially in those months where you need to run the furnace or A.C. However, there are also yard maintenance costs to take into consideration. Does your new home have a pool, lots of landscaping or a snowy climate? Ease upfront costs by estimating expenses and create an account to put money aside each month to spread these costs throughout the year.

Another account to consider building up throughout the year is for emergency repairs and renovation projects. Replacing appliances, a roof, porch or pool lining are not expenses we typically expect and can easily shell out for. At least, not without some planning ahead of time. Setting up an account to add money to each month for these specific costs can help ease your mind and feel on top of things.

3 Tips for a Seamless Moving Day

If you recently bought or sold or home, it may be only a matter of time before you need to move into a new residence.

The stress of getting ready for moving day can be overwhelming, particularly for those who have lots of items to pack but only a limited amount of time to do so.

Lucky for you, we’re here to ensure you can enjoy a seamless moving day.

Now, let’s take a look at three tips to help you prepare for moving day.

1. Begin Packing Up Your Belongings ASAP

Start packing today, and you’ll be able to get your belongings ready for moving day. /p>

Categorizing your moving boxes usually is a great idea. For example, placing kitchen items together may make it easier for you to unpack all of your kitchen belongings at once when you arrive at your new address.

Don’t forget to declutter while you pack as well. If you find there are items that you no longer need, you may be able to sell them or donate them to charity before moving day arrives.

In addition, if you need a moving truck to transport your belongings from one location to the next, you should make reservations as soon as you can. The longer you wait to book a moving truck, the less likely it becomes that one will be available for your upcoming move.

2. Cancel Your TV, Internet and Phone Services

As moving day approaches, it can be easy to forget to cancel various services at your present home. However, if you contact your TV, internet and phone services providers today, you won’t have to worry about canceling these services on moving day.

In many instances, you may be able to transfer your TV, internet and phone services to your new address. Your services providers will be able to provide full details about all of your options so you can plan accordingly.

Reach out to your utilities providers and other services providers to inform them about your upcoming move too. You also should fill out a change of address form with the United States Postal Service to ensure your mail goes to your new address after moving day.

3. Conduct a Final Walk-Through of Your Current Residence

Before you leave your current location, be sure to complete a final walk-through of your residence. This will allow you to locate any missing items and bring them with you to your new address.

Getting ready for moving day often requires hard work and patience. And if you need extra assistance along the way, your real estate agent may be able to lend a helping hand.

Your real estate agent is a housing market expert who understands exactly what it takes to buy or sell a residence. He or she is happy to provide support at each stage of the homebuying or home selling cycle and ensure you can quickly and effortlessly move from one home to another.

Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble prepping for moving day.

3 Questions to Ask During a Home Showing

A home showing represents an important opportunity for a homebuyer. And if you know the right questions to ask during a home showing, you can obtain the insights you need to determine whether a residence is right for you.

Ultimately, there are several crucial questions to ask during a home showing, and these include:

1. Why did the seller list this home?

There are many reasons why an individual may choose to sell his or her house. Yet this information rarely, if ever, is included in a home listing. Fortunately, a home showing gives you the opportunity to analyze a seller’s perspective as you weigh the pros and cons of submitting an offer to acquire a residence.

If a seller listed a house due to severe home maintenance issues that have escalated over time, this is a red flag for any buyer. On the other hand, if a home seller simply is looking to upgrade or downgrade or prefers to live elsewhere, you may want to further pursue his or her residence.

2. Is there any flexibility on the home price?

The initial asking price of a home usually is flexible, but only to a certain extent. Determining the level of flexibility on an initial asking price is paramount, as this may dictate the offer that you make on a house.

However, it is important to submit a competitive home offer, regardless of whether a seller is flexible about the price of a residence. Because if you submit a competitive homebuying proposal, you can reduce the risk of missing out on an opportunity to purchase your ideal residence.

3. Is there anything else I need to know about this home?

Following an in-depth home showing, you likely will have lots of information about a house and its condition. To conclude the showing, you should ask if there is anything else you need to know about a residence. This will enable you to receive the final pieces of information you need to decide how to proceed with a home.

Remember, it is your duty as a homebuyer to make an informed decision. If you understand exactly what to ask during a home showing, you can obtain the insights you need to determine the best course of action.

When it comes to preparing for a home showing, it helps to get assistance from a real estate agent too. In fact, hiring a real estate agent will make it simple for you to navigate the ups and downs of the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is happy to set up home showings and attend these events with you. He or she can provide comprehensive home insights throughout a home showing. Plus, after a home showing, a real estate agent will help you decide whether to submit an offer on a house or continue your pursuit of your dream residence.

Get ready for a home showing – collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can receive the help you need to fully analyze a house.