Archive for March 2018

3 Ways to Pay Your Mortgage Off Faster

3 Ways to Pay Your Mortgage Off Faster

3 Ways to Pay Your Mortgage Off FasterFor most people, a home mortgage is the largest debt they have ? and the largest debt they will ever take on. If you own a home, you would certainly love to pay down your mortgage as quickly as possible.

But is there really anything you can do to get rid of this debt faster? While it might seem like a huge mountain to climb, you can take some steps to speed up the process of paying off your mortgage.

Let?s take a look at three options that you may wish to consider.

Find Room for Additional Payments

If you are able to make additional payments on your mortgage during the course of a month, those payments are going to be applied directly to the principal of the loan. Obviously, you will need to have room in your budget for these extra payments, but if you do, they can dramatically change the long-term outlook of your repayment schedule.

These additional payments are powerful because they are not reduced by interest expenses.

For example, let?s say you have a monthly mortgage payment of $1,000, with $500 applied to the principal and $500 applied to interest. If you can add another $200 per month to that payment, you will be able to reduce the size of the debt by an extra $2,400 in just one year.

Your numbers will vary, of course. But, it?s easy to see how these payments can be a powerful way to build equity.

Take Out a Smaller Mortgage

Many people live in a larger house than they really need to accommodate their lifestyle. If you have a big family, you may actually need that big house. But, the typical married couple with two kids probably doesn?t need to live in a mini-mansion.

By purchasing a smaller house, or buying in a more affordable area, you can take out a smaller mortgage and likely pay that mortgage off faster.

In fact, buying a less expensive home may allow you to take out a 15-year loan, as opposed to the 30-year mortgage that is so common. You?ll wind up paying less interest on a 15-year mortgage, making your house even more affordable in the long run.

Pick Up Extra Work

For those who are particularly motivated to pay off their mortgage early, picking up a part-time job may be a viable option. For instance, you may decide that you are going to work a few hours on the weekend. Or, you may have the ability to do some extra work from home in the evenings.

Assuming the rest of your budget is already in good shape based on your regular income, you may decide to direct all of the money from your other job toward making extra mortgage payments. Going in this direction is going to require discipline and hard work. But, it will feel good when you see that mortgage balance dropping steadily.

Paying off your mortgage early may seem far-fetched at first. But, taking these small actions regularly can help you pay it off earlier than you think.


Are you trying to pay your mortgage off early? What are you doing to make extra payments?


Photo courtesy of: DebbieHalcomb

4 Tips to Simplify Your Life and Finances

4 Tips to Simplify Your Life and Finances

4 Tips to Simplify Your Life and FinancesLife in the 21st century can be a little chaotic and stressful. Like most, you are probably pulled in a thousand different directions on a daily basis. With the rise of technology, you likely feel as though you?re constantly connected and on-the-go.

It?s no wonder movements like minimalism have become popular. In a life of constant commotion, people are searching for ways to make their lives easier and take a breather. When it comes to simplifying your life, one way to help alleviate stress is to simplify your finances.

Make your financial life one area you don?t have to stress about and follow these four tips to simplify your life and finances.

1. Consolidate Accounts

Whether you set up multiple accounts to take advantage of sign-up bonuses or simply create multiple ones for various purposes and goals, possessing more than two or three accounts only serves to create confusion and disarray in your finances.

Most people only need two accounts which are usually for personal and business purposes. Simplify your bank accounts by keeping it to one checking and one savings account for personal use.

When consolidating, look for banks that pay the best interest on your savings so you earn as much as possible. CIT Bank?is one option, paying 1.55% on your balance, with just a $100 minimum balance.

2. Set Up Automatic Payments

There?s no doubt that you should be fully aware of everywhere your income goes. This is why some individuals might be hesitant to set up automatic bill and savings pay. That being said, automating your payments will save you time and worry.

By setting up automatic bill pay, you ensure that you pay on time, every time and keep yourself from acquiring late fees. Moreover, by automating your savings as well, you guarantee that you save each month and aren?t tempted to spend that little extra. This will benefit you in the long-run.

3. Eliminate the Paperwork

If you?re anything like me, you might prefer the old school method of pen and paper. When it comes to your finances, however, sticking with the paper often serves to cause chaos.

Unless it?s a vitally important document such as a title or birth certificate, opt in to your financial institutions? paperless statements. Depending on your personality, you might just find that it?s easier to organize, keep track of and eliminates the need for extra storage space.

4. Cut Back

Between Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, BookoftheMonth and Trunk Club, there?s no shortage of subscription services available to you. However, simply because it exists doesn?t mean you necessarily need it.

Review any subscription or service you?re currently signed up for and decide whether or not you truly need it and it?s worth the money.

For example, you likely don?t need cable, Hulu, Netflix and HBOGo. So, decide what you use the most and cut the extras out.

Furthermore, the same goes for credit cards, don?t have five just because you can, stick to one or two great ones and eliminate the others.

Life is complicated, but your finances don?t have to be. Streamline and simplify your financial life by taking a few easy steps. You?ll not only save yourself from the headache and stress often associated with finances, but likely help keep potential errors and problems at bay in the process.


What are some services you?ve cut back that have made a difference? How many accounts do you find necessary?


Photo courtesy of: pasja1000

5 Easy Ways to Trim the Fat from Your Budget

5 Easy Ways to Trim the Fat from Your Budget

5 Easy Ways to Trim the Fat from Your BudgetWhen you attempt to trim the fat off your body, the steps are relatively obvious. You will probably go on a diet of some kind, and you may get started on a fitness regimen as well. It won?t be easy, but your persistence should pay off in weight loss over the long run.

You can think about your budget in the same way. If you would like to save more money each month, you might need to put yourself on a financial diet. By trimming away some of the unnecessary things from your spending habits, you can put yourself in a better position going forward.

The exact steps you should take to clean up your budget will depend on your situation, but the five tips below may be of assistance.

Cut Out Things You Don?t Use

This is the most obvious place to start. You simply shouldn?t be spending money on things you don?t need, or don?t use regularly.

This might include subscription services that aren?t providing you with good value, or maybe a cable package that you don?t watch enjoy to justify its cost. Take a review of your monthly spending and determine if any of your recurring costs could be cut out.

Dine at Home

You have probably heard this tip before when thinking about budgeting, but it bears repeating over and over again. If you can swap some meals out for meals that you make at home, the savings will add up quickly.

In general terms, you will usually double the cost of a meal when you go out to a restaurant, as compared to making it yourself.

Pay Minimal Interest

When at all possible, you want to avoid paying interest. Again, another relatively obvious point, but one which needs to be made.

Some of the common areas where you may be paying interest include on your home loan, your car loan, and any credit card balances you are carrying. Of those three, the credit card balances should be the easiest to eliminate ? and they also will carry the highest rates ? so target those first.

Shop Around

Sometimes, you can clean up your budget by purchasing fewer items in a given month. But what if you already do a good job of only buying what you need? In that case, you can turn your attention to shopping around for better prices.

Thanks to the power of the internet, it takes only a moment to find the best available price on just about any item.

Get on the Same page

Everyone in the household needs to be on the same page when it comes to budgeting. Make sure adults and children (if they are old enough to spend money) understand the importance of financial goals. This way everyone can work together to keep the budget on track.

If there is a teamwork mentality in place with regard to the money that is spent by your family, some of the wasted ?fat? should quickly be eliminated.


How have you trimmed the fat from your budget? What other ideas can you think of to easily save money?


Photo courtesy of: stevepb

3 Ways to Make Money Management Fun

3 Ways to Make Money Management Fun

3 Ways to Make Money Management FunNo matter how much money you make, have, invest or save, one thing is always true, you must establish proper money management habits and practices.

After all, you could have all the money in the world and blow it due to lack of wise management. That being said, figuring out how to organize your finances on your own isn’t always an easy or invigorating task.

Like most, finances probably isn’t your passion or area of expertise, which no doubt causes you to dread any amount of time you have to dedicate to the subject. Managing your finances might be something you have to do, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.

Here are three ways to make money management fun.?

1. Utilize Apps

More likely than not, you use your phone for just about everything, especially since developers have created an app for a wide array of categories. Well, finances are no different.

There’s a number of apps available that can not only help you manage your finances but can help you do so in a way that’s actually fun. Apps like Digit cleverly find ways to transfer a little here and there to help you save.

Others like Toshl are fun, monster-filled app and site that can help you with your budget and bills. There’s no shortage of programs to help you keep your finances in check without making it feel like work.?

2. Make It a Game

Anytime you have a task that’s less than entertaining, it always helps to turn it into a game or competition. Ergo, turning your finances into a game can be a great way to make money management fun.

Have a competition with family or friends to see who can save the most or stick to their budget. Or, see who can go the longest without spending money on some wants like takeout or a new top. Or, use an app like Prosper Daily to compete against your last month’s budget.

However, you choose to do so, find creative ways to make your finances seem like a game you want to win.?

3. Get Creative

Create colorful boards and charts to represent your goals or financial needs and habits. By infusing a little creativity and color into the items you need to keep track of, you’ll be more prone to actually work on them and keep your finances organized.

It may sound simple, but you’d be surprised what a little color can do. Moreover, find different ways help yourself work towards your goals, like creating a Pinterest board that represents what you’re saving towards. Or reward yourself with a little something special when you reach a milestone.

By doing so, you’ll want to manage your money and keep working towards your goal because you’ll get excited about the reward that awaits.

For most of us, money isn’t the most riveting of topics. Of course, whether it’s our favorite subject or not, it’s important to keep track of and properly manage your finances. Still, organizing your financial life doesn’t have to be as drab as you’d imagine. Get a little creative, make it fun, and you just might look forward to the time you spend doing so.?

How do you make money management fun? What are little rewards that you’ve found keep you working towards your goal?


Photo courtesy of: Kyle Sterk

4 Signs It’s Time to Trade-In Your Car

4 Signs It's Time to Trade-In Your Car

4 Signs It's Time to Trade-In Your CarCars are expensive. Between the purchase price, the interest you pay on your loan, and the maintenance costs along the way, there is nothing cheap about owning a vehicle. With that said, most people don?t have a choice on this purchase.

Unless you live in a big city and can rely on public transportation, you likely need to own a vehicle. By making the best possible financial decisions with regard to your cars, you can make the best of this costly part of life.

One of the key decisions you need to make as a car owner is determining when to trade your vehicle in on a new (or newer) model. How do you know when the time is right? Consider the four tips below.

1. Your Vehicle No Longer Meets Your Needs

Sometimes, the decision to trade-in your car won?t have much to do with finances at all. For example, if you are currently driving a vehicle that no longer meets the needs of your family, it will be time to make a change.

This is common for people who have children. A sedan or crossover that worked for the family when the kids were young might soon start to feel crowded. If you need to move into a larger model, trading in your current car before it completely runs out of value is probably your best bet.

2. The Repairs Are Adding Up

When you seem to be taking your vehicle to the shop more than you are taking it to work or anywhere else, it may be time to ?cut bait? and move on. Depending on what is actually wrong with the vehicle, you might still get a decent return on your trade-in.

Upgrading to a new vehicle in this situation will save you from the cost of those ongoing repairs, and it will also save you the hassle of those visits to the shop.

3. You Need Better Mileage

Gas mileage is another factor to keep in mind as part of this debate. If you drive a significant number of miles each day for work, trading-in your current car for a model with better gas mileage could lead to major savings.

The cost of fuel for a daily commute can add up quickly when driving a vehicle that burns gas at a high rate. There are many fuel-efficient models on the market today, so it may not be hard (or even expensive) to trade-in your car for the purpose of fuel savings.

4. It Fits Your Budget

If you are doing a good job of tracking your budget, it should be relatively easy to find an opportunity to trade-in your car. Remember, you?ll probably need some money for a down payment ? in addition to the money you receive for your trade-in.

So, you?ll want to make sure the funds are available when you get ready to make a purchase. As long as you time it right, it?s possible to move into a new vehicle without sending your budget too far off course.


How often do you trade-in your car? What factors do you consider?


Photo courtesy of: Nino Ubezio