Debbie Caniff's Blog
Money is the root of many people’s stress and anxiety and it’s also the cause of many fights. But it doesn’t have to be for you. You may own a home now, but it doesn’t mean you should stop saving or that saving has to be a difficult undertaking.
Ideally you already have a robust emergency fund—this type of account is suggested by financial experts to have even before paying down ‘good’ debt such as student loans. This account is extremely important as you never know when or if that “rainy day” will come. The suggested amount to have in an emergency fund is six to nine months’ worth of income—and to be on the higher end if you own a home and have children. For instance, if you take home $3,000 a month, you should have $18,000 to $27,000 in your emergency fund. You should also consider whether it’s best to keep these funds in a regular savings account or a money market account.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of an emergency fund,let’s discuss how to keep saving—whether you are saving just to save or saving for a vacation, new car, or that fancy grill you’ve been eyeing.
Automatic deposit from primary income: If you aren’t doing this already then you should be. Automatic deposit is the easiest way to save money. Many places of employment offer this option, and if not your financial institution will. Automatically depositing money into a savings account (separate of the rest of your income) will force you to save. And if your place of employment offers this option then that money will never enter your checking account—out of sight, out of mind. If you must use your financial institution then have the automatic transfer occur on the day you are paid so the money is almost like it was never there for spending. Of course, this will be an adjustment if you are used to living off that money, especially if you just purchased a home. However, you can start small and work your way to a larger amount such as when you receive a raise or have other forms of incoming income.
Automatic transfer from checking to savings: Many financial institutions offer the ability to automatically transfer funds between your checking account and savings account each time you use your debit card. If your bank does not offer this opportunity there are apps for your phone that can easily connect to your online bank accounts and do the work for you. It’s a great way to save a small amount of money each time you swipe your card. And depending on how often you use your debit card, those savings could add up quickly. For example, you spend $25.33 at the grocery store and use your debit card to pay. Your bank (or app) will round that number up to $26.00 and transfer .67 into your account of choice. It’s too easy not to participate!
There are many other ways to be a better saver, but it’s best to start simple and small. Overwhelming yourself with how much you need/want to save and with many ways of saving, might cause the opposite to happen. Remember, you have a house to pay for and all the other expenses that come with it. Be conscious of your financial situation and be diligent with your savings strategy and you’ll be on the road to being a savings master.
Something that can cause anxiety when packing fragile items for a move is the fear of them being shattered in transit. Fragile items can be so delicate that just a simple shake will end up getting them cracked, or entirely broken.
Your Great-Aunt Mildred's Heirloom China is too cherished to be toyed with, while your wedding day champagne flutes are also precious to you, and you'll go any length to prevent them from breaking. These are some reasons why you should put considerable thought into packing your fragile items when moving homes. Here are some tips packing to help you get all your fragile belongings to your new home safely:
Don't overpack each box and ensure you apply extra packing tape to keep fragile items covered. It's imperative to place fragile items into individual boxes after packing them carefully and wrapping them with soft materials like foam or bubble wrap. Also, label boxes with fragile items accordingly so that movers can be extra careful with them. Cardboard boxes containing fragile items should be stuffed in-between to keep them tight and make it less likely to suffer huge impacts from collisions or unwanted bumps.
Mix them all up
You may think that it is best to purchase boxes that are of the same sizes. Matching sizes works well as stacking is easier with boxes of the same size. However, some fragile items may not fit into the standard box size you are using. Picking up a couple of sizes is your best bet so that you have options for objects of different dimensions - from shoebox small to ottoman large - that can conveniently carry anything more significant than two square feet. Place heavy items in little boxes and fill the big ones with lighter things.
Packing it the Pillow-Top way
When there are certain items with irregular shapes, a designated box is dedicated entirely for them. In this technique, a blanket is placed at the base and then the carefully wrapped item before putting a pillow at the top. Seal the box and put a label marked 'FRAGILE' on all sides.
Glasses, cups, and mugs do not necessarily need to be placed inside a box-insert to get them separated. Instead, it's advisable to get them wrapped up entirely while using two sets of packing papers for materials that are extra-fragile and sensitive. You should make sure that everything is well and tightly packed to prevent the items from getting roughly shaken which may at the end of the day cause some unwanted loss.
Hire professional movers and let them have a full inventory of your moving items to help them plan appropriately for your move.
Adding a quality home to the real estate market offers no guarantees. And if you fail to set a competitive initial asking price for your residence, your home may linger on the housing market for many weeks or months. Fortunately, we're here to teach you about the real estate sector and ensure you can use your home's initial asking price to differentiate your residence from the competition.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you establish the right price for your house prior to listing your residence.
1. Analyze the Housing Market
The housing market is tough to navigate, particularly for a seller who wants to separate his or her residence from the crowd. Thankfully, an informed home seller can review housing market data and use this information to establish a price range for his or her house.
A home seller who assesses the real estate sector can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one. This seller will collect and analyze housing market data related to the prices of recently sold residences and how long these houses were listed before they sold. Then, this seller can determine whether he or she is preparing to enter a buyer's or seller's market.
2. Conduct a Home Inspection and Appraisal
Although a home inspection usually is requested by a buyer after a seller accepts an offer to purchase, it may be beneficial for a seller to conduct an inspection before listing a home. An inspection enables a seller to identify problem areas in a residence. As a result, a seller can use an inspection report to prioritize home improvement projects, complete home repairs and boost the value of his or her house.
A home appraisal also may prove to be exceedingly valuable to a seller. In fact, an appraisal provides a seller with a property valuation that he or she can use to establish a competitive initial home asking price.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
There is no telling how homebuyers will respond to a new house that becomes available. Lucky for you, a real estate agent can help you plan ahead to list your house and ensure you can establish a competitive price for your home from day one of the property selling journey.
A real estate agent is an expert resource that you can leverage when you sell your house. He or she can help you review housing market data from a variety of sources. Furthermore, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the top home inspectors and appraisers. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent takes the guesswork out of pricing a house and will help you set an initial home asking price that matches buyers' expectations.
When it comes to selling your house and maximizing its value, there is no need to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent today, you can get the help you need to showcase your residence to prospective buyers and boost the likelihood of a profitable home sale.
Whether you're just doing a seasonal cleanup or you're clearing out in preparation to move, sorting through your things might seem challenging. There are, however, several things that you really are going to have to think about. Just get rid of them. NOW!
- Condiments. When your fast food, take-out, or delivery habit leaves your refrigerator cluttered with soy sauce and mustard packets, it's time to do some sorting. And it's not just those pesky little packages that can burst open in unexpected places. You probably have a cache of plastic utensils filling up drawer space too. Find a way to organize them or toss them out.
- Prescriptions. Whether you no longer need it or it’s past its date, keeping old medicine in the cabinet not only takes up space, it poses a risk to family members. Before you just flush them down the drain, though, follow the advice from the FDA on drug disposal.
- Unmatched socks. So, your dryer (or washers) eats socks. At least, that's the theory because you knew you put a pair in and only one came out. The sock monster strikes again. In some homes, this phenomenon results in piles of mismatched socks, and there's no reason to hang on to them. Turn them into dust mittens, cut them up for crafts, or toss them.
- Paint. Saving a small amount of paint for repairs and touch-ups, if stored properly in an airtight container, is a great idea. But keeping partial cans of colors that you probably won't ever use before they dry up is just a waste of space. And remember, paint fades over time, so you may not be able to use a bright color for those patches anyway. Paint is considered hazardous waste, so you shouldn’t just toss it in the trash bin. Contact your trash company for advice on where and how to get rid of leftover paint and unusable supplies.
- Old spices. No, not the cologne. Kitchen spices lose their savor and can ruin a great dish if used after their expiration date. Of course, not all spice jars have dates on them, so a general rule of thumb is two to three years. Spices last longer when kept in a dry environment such as air-tight containers that are closed up properly after each use. Often, you'll find that half the spices that came on that decorative spice rack are not items you use in your culinary masterpieces. If you haven't used them in a year, donate them. If it's been more than three years, toss them.
Even if you're not prepared to sell just yet, including these clutter busters into your routine will keep things under control so that when you're ready to make a move it'll be hassle-free. When you are ready, ask your real estate or moving professional about other ways to quickly bring order to chaos.