Archive for April 2016

6 Tips for House Hunting

house huntingLooking for a new home can feel like an overwhelming task if you?re not sure where to start first. Fortunately,?there are some things you can do to make finding a home an easier process, and help you avoid some unnecessary mistakes. Here are six tips to help you get started.

Determine a Target Price

Before talking with your bank, you need to know that most of them require a down payment before they will approve a home loan. However, if you have a good paying, steady job and a good credit history, you should be able to get a larger loan requiring a lower down payment. With this information you should be able to determine about how much money you have available to purchase a house.

Figure Out Your Requirements

Do you need a three bedroom home? What about a master bathroom or a garage? As you decide what features your new house must have, jot them down. If you have a spouse or children, find out what their needs are as well. If the houses for sale in Sydney are the only ones you are interested in, make that a top priority on your list of must haves. Knowing this ahead of time can speed up your process considerably by weeding out the homes that just don?t fit your needs.

Look for Problem Areas

Don?t let the weather keep you from viewing homes. Sometimes leaks or other problems become apparent when you are viewing a home during inclement weather. Inspect any home you are seriously interest in with a careful eye. It?s also wise to have your home professionally inspected to prevent you from finding problems later that are expensive to have fixed.

Focus on the Big Things

Many times when you turn on the television to a show about house hunting you see a prospective buyer making comments about hating the paint color or the light fixtures: These features can be changed at very little expense in comparison to the purchase price of the home. What you need to pay attention to are the things that can?t be changed, at least not without great expense, such as the layout of the home or the number of bathrooms. These are the real deal breakers.

Make Notes

As you tour the homes you have an interest in, take pictures and make notes of anything you may want to ask about later. Doing so can really help you narrow down your list to the one house you want to make an offer on.

Review Before you Sign

Go over everything carefully with your agent, if you have one, before you sign any legal documents. If you are not using an agent, make doubly sure you know exactly what you are signing so nothing is missed. Asking for clarification because you don?t understand something does not make you unintelligent. Instead, it makes you smart for asking about it.

Once you have followed the 6 tips for house hunting, had all of the required inspections, and filled out the proper paperwork, you are ready to sign the dotted line. Congratulations on your new home.


Did you use these steps to help you with house hunting?


Photo courtesy of: cocoparisienne

5 Ways Not to Overspend as a New College Graduate

college graduate

square-academic-cap-999418_640Graduating college is an exciting time to be sure. You have finally finished your education ? which you started when you were just a small child ? and you get to head out into the real world to get a job and make some real money. While you know that there will be challenges ahead, it is exciting to get to start out on your own and feel like a true adult for the first time.

One of the obvious challenges that faces almost every new college graduate is a lack of money in the bank. Between student loans, low entry level wages, and newfound expenses, it can seem like an impossible challenge just to get by. Fortunately, it is possible to survive, but you are going to have to think logically and make sound decisions right from the start.

Modest Living Arrangements

While you are certainly excited to finally bust out of the college dorms, you don?t want to go overboard with your first apartment or condo (or even house). Keep your budget at the top of your list and pick out something that you are sure you can afford. There will be plenty of time to upgrade later, so play it safe to start with. Also, finding a roommate is a great way to share costs initially.

Eat Smart

Now would be a great time to start to learn how to cook for yourself (if you don?t know how already). You might have gotten through college on a combination of cafeteria meals and fast food, but that just isn?t going to work out in the real world. Learn some basic cooking skills and you will quickly save money because eating out is expensive!

Avoid Credit Cards if Possible

Getting your first credit card can make you feel like you are rich, even if you only have a modest credit limit. While it is a pretty good idea to have a card in your name in case of emergencies, try to limit your spending to debit cards and cash so that your spending doesn?t spiral out of control.

Cheap Wheels

Just as with your housing arrangement, you also want to be smart when picking out a car (if you don?t already own one). Buying a used car that is in good condition will probably be your best bet, as you can hopefully get a few years of service from it before you are ready to purchase something new. Consider ?certified pre-owned? programs at dealerships which often back used cars with a modest warranty.

Set a Savings Percentage

One of the first things you should do when you get your first job is to set a percentage of your wages that you would like to save. Many online banks, such as Discover Bank, allow you to automate savings on whatever interval you like. If you can stick to the number that you set for yourself, and you do a good job of just living on what is left, you will see your savings quickly grow and you will have a nice financial cushion as you move later into adult life.


How else can a new college graduate save money? Did you do these things to avoid overspending after college?


Photo courtesy of: MariaGodfrida

4 Ways to Deal with Spending Guilt from Family and Friends

spending guilt

spending guiltHave you ever been so excited about something you bought that you told a friend or family member? Sure you have. We all have.

But what?s difficult to deal with is how guilty some of them make you feel once they hear about or see what you purchased. So what can you do about it? Here are four ways you can deal with spending guilt from family and friends.

1. Is it in the budget?

If you are managing your monthly budget well and the item you purchased is in your budget, then you don?t have any reason to feel guilty. As long as you and your family?s needs are being met, it isn?t anyone else?s business how you spend your money.

It?s possible your friends feels jealous and are trying to make you feel guilty about what you bought simply so they will feel better themselves.

2. Did You Need It?

As time passes, our material items wear out and need to be replaced. This is true for clothing, household items, vehicles and many other things we use on a regular?basis.

Consider that we also change as the years go by, and that sometimes requires us to purchase new clothing or other items in order to keep up with those changes. If it is a necessary purchase it is not frivolous spending and you have no reason to feel badly about it.

3. Did You Use a Bonus or Gift Money?

A gift from a friend or family member that was used to obtain something others might view as frivolous is still not a reason to feel guilty. In fact, it is really quite the opposite. You should feel good about using it so you don?t diminish the gift that was given to you.

4. Did You Get Healthier?

Spending money on yourself to gain better health, such as going to a gym, or buying healthier foods, should not make you feel guilty if you can afford it. As long as you have the income to cover your needs first, do not let the opinions or comments of other people take the wind out of your sails. So go workout guilt free. It?s also an investment in your health.

The bottom line is you shouldn?t need to rationalize your purchases to prevent your family or friends from making you feel guilty.

Embrace the idea that the choices you make in life impact your ability to spend money the way you want to. This goes for your family and friends also.

In other words, if they want what you have, then they need to make different choices and stop making you feel guilty about your choices. Will they do this, even if you tell them to? They probably won?t, because you can?t force people to change how they feel about you. But you can change how you react to them. So turn off the guilt and enjoy what you have.


Can you think of other ideas of how to deal with spending guilt from family and friends? Have you used any of these ideas to deal with spending guilt?


Photo courtesy of: quinntheislander

4 Ways to Make Extra Money with Little Skill

extra money

rush-971888_640When thinking about how you can earn some extra money in order to make ends meet each month, you might run into one specific problem quite quickly ? a lack of marketable skills. That isn?t to say that you don?t have any skills, but you are probably already using the skills you do have in your regular job. If you would like to pick up some side work in order to pad your income, you may find it tough to identify things that would be a good fit.

Not to worry ? you don?t have to have any incredible skills to pick up some side income in the near future. Consider the following four possibilities.

Physical Labor

If you are in good physical condition, you could look into the possibility of picking up a part-time manual labor job to help pay some bills. Since you will only be doing this work part-time, you shouldn?t have to worry about your body wearing down as it might if you were doing this kind of work on a day-in, day-out basis.

Of course, many manual labor jobs require some specific skills of their own, so make sure you will be capable of completing all tasks that are required of you.

Local Yard Work

It doesn?t take much skill to do things like mow lawns and pull weeds, yet nearly every neighborhood across the country has work like that which needs to be completed. Start by asking your neighbors if they would be interested in some help with their yard work for a small fee.

If you do a good job, you will probably get more and more requests from others around the neighborhood to work on their yards as well. In addition to making extra money, you might find that you enjoy spending time outside working on these side jobs.

Online Tasks

The freelance economy has exploded in recent years, and you may be able to carve out a little piece of the action for yourself. Even if you don?t have a specific skill such as graphic design or writing, you could find jobs completing basic computer tasks such as research or data entry.

As long as you know your way around the standard functions of a computer, there is likely work out there that you could complete with ease. Even if you feel like you don’t have many technical skills you can still make money online in your free time with no skill at all. You won’t get rich quick, but survey sites can be a great way to make a little extra money in your spare time. Some of the best survey sites are Swagbucks,?Harris Poll, Reward TV,?Opinion Outpost?and ProOpinion.

Sell Online

Do you have an assortment of old possessions around the house that you would like to move out? Most people do ? yet they just allow that stuff to sit around year after year. Instead of letting clutter take up the space in your home, try selling them online to turn that ?junk? into some cash.

The amount of money that can be raised with this method will depend on what it is you own and wish to sell, but most people can turn this approach into at least a little bit of money. In the end, you will be left with more money in your pocket and less junk in your house ? a win-win situation!


Have you used any of these methods to make extra money? How else can you make extra money?


Photo courtesy of: Monsterkoi

11 Overlooked Expenses when Renting an Apartment

renting an apartment
renting an apartment

If you are planning on moving to a new apartment soon, you better plan to have some extra money set aside.

Moving can be expensive, especially if you are caught unaware of some of the overlooked expenses of renting an apartment. Here are 11 examples of commonly forgotten expenses of renting an apartment.

1. Moving Fees

If you don?t have a lot of stuff to move, and have friends who will help, that?s great and it can save you a bundle. But unless somebody has a pickup, you may need to rent a truck or hire movers to help with large items. Don?t forget to budget for [easyazon_link keywords=”packing tape” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wisedollar-20″]packing tape[/easyazon_link] and boxes too if you weren?t able to find free ones.

2. Storage Rental

Putting your stuff in storage is definitely not ideal. First, it?s a money suck and a monthly bill you don?t need. Also, you run the risk of items being broken the more times you move them, and some storage units are not tight, which means you could end up with rodent or water damage to your belongings.

3. Cleaning Supplies, Pantry Items, Linens

If this is your first time living alone, you will need cleaning supplies, and unless you plan to eat out all the time, or starve, you will need baking supplies, spices and food. Don?t forget to pick up [easyazon_link keywords=”linens” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wisedollar-20″]linens[/easyazon_link], including [easyazon_link keywords=”towels” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wisedollar-20″]towels[/easyazon_link], or you will be air drying after your showers!

4. Security Deposits

Most people expect to pay a security deposit when they move to a new place, but some are not refundable, so make sure to look for that clause in your lease or rental agreement. Document damages as you go through the initial inspection so you aren?t docked on your deposit refund due to damage done by a previous occupant when you move out.

5. Application Fee

Some rentals require you to pay a nonrefundable application fee. This fee covers the credit checks and background checks they run, and are part of the approval process for an apartment.  Even if you are not approved, the fee is usually still not refundable.

6. Amenities

Some apartments have covered parking or garages, but you may have an additional fee associated with these services.  Other extras to ask about include pools, covered patios, gyms and saunas, which may or may not cost extra if you decide to use them. Keep in mind that even if there is no fee for using these amenities, they are still factored into your monthly rent payment as you can likely rent a cheaper apartment with less amenities in the same area.

7. Utility Deposits

Utility deposits are common if it is your first apartment, so be sure you have some extra money in your budget to cover them so you aren?t eating cold beans and reading by candle light!

8. Laundry Fees

You may be lucky enough to have a washer and dryer in your new place, but if not, be prepared to pay for using the laundry room in your apartment complex. Don?t forget to buy some detergent as well.

9. Utilities

Find out ahead of time if any of your utilities, including cable and internet, will be included in the rent. This will help you avoid not having power or getting unexpected bills in the mail.

10. Renters Insurance

It?s a good idea to carry renters insurance whether your new place requires it or not. The cost is usually affordable and worth the coverage it provides, so make sure you budget for this commonly forgotten expense of renting an apartment. Renters insurance usually costs $10-15 per month depending on your situation. You can get it for as low as $4 per month through Allstate.

11. Pet Fees

Places allowing pets may require nonrefundable pet deposits and even monthly fees to cover any damage done by furry friends, so plan on an extra bill if Mittens is moving with you. Plus, there are less buildings that allow pets, so you may have to pay more just to find an apartment Mittens is allowed in. Also, don’t forget that you should invest in a good pet insurance to keep your pet happy and healthy. There are many new companies, like Bivvy pet insurance, that offer amazing deals to their customers!

Are there other overlooked expenses of renting an apartment you can think of? Have you encountered any of these when renting an apartment?

Photo courtesy of: Unsplash