Tag: Pittsburgh

Essential Saving Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Essential Saving Tips for First Time Home Buyers

 

Buying a home is a process that can often take a substantial amount of time, and cost a lot of money.  As a new homeowner, it’s wise to expect a number of expenses, in addition to your mortgage and taxes. From closing costs to renovations and new furniture, buying your first home can prove to be quite costly.  If you want to make sure you budget properly, and remain in control of your finances throughout the home buying process, here are a few solid tips to follow.

Home Repairs

Unless you’re buying a brand new home, you will likely be faced with a few repairs; if you’re in a fixer-upper situation, your repairs could run you thousands.  Older homes face tremendous wear and tear, and you’ll need to spend on different materials and tools to make fixes are or completely replace something. Having a separate budget after closing costs is a great way to ensure that you’ll have the right amount of funds to cover any necessary repairs or renovations. As time goes on, you can use your budget to focus on other things you may want to change in your new home.

Maintenance

Property upkeep is another financial factor to consider when purchasing your first home.  You’ll need to set aside money throughout the year to save for general maintenance. Exterior projects such as lawn and landscaping, or interior projects like painting or purchasing new appliances, to mention a few.  

HOA Fees

Depending on where you decide to buy your home, you may need to factor Home Owners Association fees, into your budget.  HOA fees can potentially add a few hundred dollars to your monthly expenses, in addition to your mortgage and other utility bills.  Additionally, it is wise to consider other expenses, like homeowners insurance; which is sometimes required as a first time home buyer or buyers that are using an FHA loan.  Never forget to factor in your property tax; depending on your location your property tax cost could vary.

Emergency Fund

Creating an emergency fund is essential when owning a home.  It isn’t uncommon for an unexpected expense to come up that may require immediate payment.  Plan ahead for things like this, and assure that you can handle a financial emergency. Contribute a percentage of your pack check every month into a separate fund that you don’t use unless you absolutely need to.  

4 Ways to Make Money During Your Morning Commute

It’s normal to dread your morning commute as you spend time in traffic before arriving at the office for a long day of work. Although it may seem like a waste of time sitting on the bus or train, there are ways that you can earn extra money before arriving at the workplace. If you want to make cash during your commute, there are a few different methods to consider to occupy your time each morning.

Sell Items on eBay

Selling items on eBay.com or Amazon.com is an excellent way to supplement your income and enjoy a fun hobby. You can create a seller’s account and list items that are sitting in your attic or that you find at yard sales. Drop shipping is also available where you purchase items for lower prices on other websites and list them for a higher price. Drop shipping is convenient because you don’t have to worry about having the items in your possession and manually shipping everything.

Sell Your Handmade Goods

Whether you enjoy making knitted scarves or jewelry items, you can sell your handmade goods on Etsy.com without worrying about having to get a business license. Take high-quality photos of each product and write a thorough description that engages the reader to attract more customers.

Write

If you’re good with words, you can make extra cash by writing articles and selling them to clients online. Creating your own blog is also a great way to earn money by attracting traffic to your website when you write posts based on topics that you enjoy and are knowledgable about, which can include cooking or fashion. You can integrate SEO tools to increase your ranking on search engines and make it easier for people to find your blog online.

Take Surveys

According to lovemoney.com, many websites offer gift cards and cash to individuals who take surveys. The websites will also pay you to watch commercials and ads. Each activity that you perform will allow you to earn points, which can be redeemed for money over a period of time. You can use the money to save for an upcoming trip or use for Christmas gifts, which can allow more wiggle room in your budget for your daily expenses.

Tips for Saving Money While Traveling Abroad

Traveling abroad is an ideal way to become more culturally sensitive and aware. At any stage of life, traveling abroad allows you to gain skills and experience that can benefit you professionally. The only downside to traveling abroad is that it may prove to be quite expensive. Here are some tips to help you save money while traveling abroad:
Credit Card

The first tip is to make sure that you have a credit card that is going to be able to be used in a foreign country. You are going to need to do some research before you do any traveling internationally since some credit cards offer better benefits than others. Be sure to look at the fine print to see if you will be charged a foreign currency transaction fee.

Contact the credit card company

Next, make sure that you inform the credit card company with all of the dates that you are going to be traveling abroad. This is going to need to be done at least a week before you travel. There is a high chance the credit card company will assume the international purchases are fraudulent and will freeze the account if they are unaware of your travel plans.

Travelers’ check

An often neglected tip is obtaining a travelers’ check. These can offer you a bit more of security if your credit card cannot be used in the foreign country or if your credit card is stolen.

Local Currency

Save some money by exchanging your cash into the local currency as soon as your arrive instead of doing it at the airport. Most airports  have a lo of different fees that they are going to charge you.

References

The final tip to saving money when you travel abroad is to make sure that you have created a reference list of the credit card companies. This should include all of their phone numbers.

Stay tuned for more personal finance tips.
Safe travels!

3 New Year’s Resolution Ideas to Save You Money

Maybe 2017 was not the best year for you financially. Luckily, you can stop looking at the past and look towards a better financial future in 2018. With the new year brings new goals, and you can make one of those goals focusing on your personal finance or money management.

Invest

A wise way to handle your money would be to invest. As you may have seen recently, Bitcoin has seen a huge rise in their stocks. Although it can be risky, sometimes the investment is worth it in the long run.

Create and Stick to a Budget

Another tip that can really help you with money management is saving your money by formulating a budget. Proper money management is an extremely important finance characteristic to have. Not only is it good to know how to save money for obvious reasons, but it can also be a saving grace for you in case of an emergency.

Impulse buying can be very dangerous. It can lead to you being in insurmountable debt and regretting days if not hours later. Preparing a budget can assist you with saving a great deal of extra cash while steadily maturing in your spending habits.

Save Money By Breaking Bad Habits

A great way to kill two birds with one stone is to save money by breaking bad habits. Create a jar that you will have to place money in each time you perform an action you are trying to quit. Anytime you have an urge to swear, break your diet, or have an urge to smoke a cigarette, put a certain amount of money into your jar. This will help you break free of your bad habits while simultaneously improving your financial situation.

Personal money management and financial woes are something everyone wishes they could live life without, but everybody at one point or another has to conquer. Make sure 2018 is a financially freeing year by trying these New Year’s resolution ideas and see which one works best for you!

3 Ways to Rid Yourself of Student Loan Debt in 2018

Student loan debt affects a huge part of the population. In fact, the overall student loan total in America skyrocketed to over $1.3 trillion in 2017. Fortunately, 2018 yields some promising tools and processes that can help citizens rid themselves of it. Here are three personal finance tips for getting rid of student loan debt:

Choose the Right Occupation

One way to get student loan debt forgiveness is to work for a government entity or a nonprofit organization. Doing so will allow you to become eligible for a forgiveness program after 5-10 years as an employee. Public school teachers who work in low-income neighborhoods are eligible for student loan forgiveness, as well. Therefore, you may want to consider putting in an application in those fields.

Choose a Repayment Plan The Works for You

Another personal finance tip for you is to sign up for a reasonable repayment plan. If you have low income or limited income, you can sign up for for a plan that’s income based or income contingent. Doing so will ease the burden for you as you pay down the debt. Eventually, you’ll make it to financial freedom.

To sign up for the special repayment plans, you just have to visit the website and complete an application. You may have to mail or upload some information so that the debtor can assess your income situation. Once they do that, they will let you know if you qualify for a specialized repayment plan.

Pick up a Second Job

Finally, you could always pick up a second job to pay down your student loans. Many retail stores hire at an accelerated pace during the holiday season. If you have some time to spare, you can put in a few hours every day and use everything that you earn toward those loans.

You deserve to have financial freedom, and you can get it if you handle your loans intelligently. Try these methods and watch your student loans decline in the blink of an eye.

Tips for Purchasing Your First Car

Congratulations! You’ve finally got your license and you are ready to hit the open road! The only thing stopping is figuring out exactly how to save enough money to purchase an affordable vehicle. Whether you are looking into buying a new car or a used car, here a few things you might want to consider:

Timeline

How soon would you like to purchase your new vehicle? It is important you figure out a timeline such that you can save the proper amount of money and you have the opportunity to get all of your other finances in order. Make sure your timeline is realistic and falls in line with your income and other expenses.

Car payment plan

You need to figure how much you are comfortable spending in car payments each month. While creating this budget, bear in mind that you will need to be able to simultaneously save  enough money for car insurance and car maintenance. Maintenance can include but is not limited to tire rotation, oil change, car batteries, etc.

How much do you need to put down?

Take advantage of all the internet has to offer and use available tools to help you figure out how much you need to put down. Take the time to test different down payment amounts and terms to see which scenario can best fit in your budget.

Save!

Now that you have figured out when you want the car, how much you can afford and how much you need to put down, you need to start saving! Eliminate anything from your budget that you don’t need to spend money for and allocate that money towards your “new car fund”.  This may not be as easy as it seems but it will definitely be worth it once you’ve reached your goal and are behind the wheel of your new car.

Christmas Budgeting Tips

Christmas is right around the corner! This means lots of holiday cheer, family, and gifts. Lots of gifts. This sounds great but if you’re not properly prepared you will end up blowing the budget you worked so hard to maintain throughout the year. Here are a few tips to help you get through the holidays without increasing your debt.

Create a Christmas Budget

Keep it simple by doing these two things:.

  • Write down how much money you can save between now and Christmas day
  • Figure out how much of that money you are willing to spend on Christmas gifts.

Make a list and check it twice

Write down a complete list of all the people you want to buy gifts for. This list should include family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, your favorite service providers (mailman, delivery boy, teachers, paperboy, etc), and anyone else you feel is deserving of a gift from you.

Once you’ve completed your list, look it over and remove anyone that you are unsure about. After that, separate the list into 3 groups:

Christmas cards – Everyone in this group will be receiving a thoughtful Christmas card instead of a gift.

Handcrafted gift – Everyone in this group will receive a unique handcrafted gift. These gifts to not have to be extremely detailed or time consuming. In fact, they can be as simple as a baked good like cookies or a cake,  handmade ornament or a personalized coffee mug.

Paid gift – This is the group that directly affects your budget. Everyone is this group will receive a gift purchased with the money you have saved.  Place the amount of money you are willing to spend for person on this list. For example, you may want to spend $100 on a joint gift for your parents, $50 on a gift for your sibling, and $25 on a gift for your co-worker.  Just be sure not to overspend on after you set each amount.

Now, what are you waiting for? Follow these tips and start your Christmas shopping today!

Happy Holidays!

Credit Cards for Bad Credit

One of the most detrimental stigmas when managing finances is a low credit score, which can be caused by any number of reasons which may be no direct fault of the card holder. It doesn’t help that companies aren’t inclined to give second chances, regardless of reason or circumstance. If you have bad credit, it will follow you every time you attempt any sort of financial transaction. This being said, there are still some credit companies who understand and are willing to work with you to provide you with several options to bring your finances under control.

Low deposit credit cards
One example are low deposit credit cards, which require you to pay only a fraction of a deposit for a credit limit, while typical ones require an equal deposit. You can also pay off deposits in installments, making this card ideal for those with damaged credit.

No credit check cards
No credit check cards don’t require credit checks or even a bank account at the expense of no method to upgrade to an unsecured card.

Rewards cards
Rewards cards have no annual fee and give cash back rewards on restaurant and gas spending and lower rewards for other spending, at the cost of requiring an initial deposit from a bank account.

Low interest and fee cards
Low interest and fee credit cards offer an APR of only 12.50%, half that of many secured and unsecured cards with no deposit restrictions at the cost of requiring a credit union membership.

Secured cards
A particularly appealing option are first progress secured credit cards, which require no minimum credit score or even a credit file, though your security deposit must equal your credit line.

Pre-paid debit card
While not technically a credit card, pre-paid debit cards set a limit to your spending without requiring a credit score but don’t affect your credit card score positively either.

There are options for you if your credit is less than ideal but they’re still not a free pass and come with the expectation that you will work take responsibility to rebuild your credit. If your finances are in the drain you can still bounce back, as long as you work to not repeat the same mistakes in the future.